Spring beckons for Cabeza


Connections of impressive Flemington winner Cabeza will be looking to build his rating in the coming weeks as trainer Danny O'Brien eyes the major races next spring with the Zabeel gelding.

After breaking Rangirangdoo's 1600m course record at Moonee Valley with a barnstorming finish last start, the four-year-old raced on the pace to take out Saturday's Life Saving Victoria Plate (1720m).

Ridden by Jason Maskiell, Cabeza always looked to be travelling easily in second place and romped clear in the home straight to score by 2-1/4 lengths from Kert with Down Under Boy a length away third.

O'Brien said Cabeza was a progressive horse and similar to past stable stars Vigor, who was third to Viewed in the 2009 Caulfield Cup, and 2008 Moonee Valley Cup winner Gallopin who also contested the Melbourne Cup.

"I would hope he is a spring-quality horse and over the next month we will try and get his rating up and try him again at a mile and a half (2400m)," O'Brien said.

"I had Vigor and Gallopin come through these races in the summer and early autumn and end up in a Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup and I think he is every bit as good as those horses at the same time of their careers."

Cabeza has won four of his 14 starts but his record may have been more impressive had he been gelded earlier in his career.

"To be fair to him I left him as a colt too long," O'Brien said.

He said he wasted a Brisbane winter campaign which included a failure in the Queensland Derby but was now a more focused and tractable horse.

"In Queensland he was doing everything wrong so we cut him and gave him a long break over the spring," O'Brien said.

Cabeza has finished in the top four at his four starts this campaign and his Moonee Valley win triggered stable excitement.

"When he broke the track record at Moonee Valley the other night you get a bit excited but you always like to see them back it up next start," O'Brien said.

He said Cabeza would have his next run over 2000m at Caulfield on February 5.

Story by AAP Reporter Robert Windmill, to view full AAP Racing story click here

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here

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