King's Champ chases riches

FLEMINGTON trainer Danny O'Brien hopes yesterday's Werribee Summer Handicap winner King's Champ will pick up the stable's first feature race next year.

The four-year-old is being aimed at the $400,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast on January 14.

O'Brien this year gained a reputation as a feature-race trainer, winning the Adelaide Cup with Demerger, the Goodwood Handicap and Salinger Stakes with Glamour Puss and the Emirates Stakes with Valedictum.

He said he had earmarked the Magic Millions Cup for King's Champ several weeks ago.

"I think he's a very nice horse. He has won four out of his last six starts and he has still got a lot of scope for improvement," O'Brien said.

The trainer said he had always had a high opinion of King's Champ, but had given him time to mature.

"He tended to over-race as a three-year-old so, rather than push him, I decided to put him out and give him time," he said.

To ensure a start in the Gold Coast race, O'Brien said King's Champ would probably have to win his next start at Flemington over 1400m on Saturday week.

He was ridden yesterday by Peter Mertens, who completed a double, having won on Ruby Trois.

King's Champ ($1.60 fav) defeated Alehaus ($5.50) by 2 1/4 lengths with Skalaad ($7.50) a neck away third.

Michael Manley, Herald Sun

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