O'Brien doubles up for bright future

DANNY O'Brien produced an unlikely two-year-old winner in Galen and a possible Group winner in King's Champ for a double at Sandown yesterday.

Galen ($2.35 to $2.15 fav) halted the David Hayes juvenile juggernaut to deny the stable its 17th two-year-old winner of the season, relegating Sinikka ($1.50 to $2.35) to second in the Blue Diamond Second Acceptances Handicap (1000m).

Galen is by Galileo, 2001 English and Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.

O'Brien said if he had been asked to nominate the first city two-year-old winner from his team of 50 youngsters this season Galen would have been low on the list.

"But you never know with first-season sires," he said.

O'Brien said Galen's next appearance would be in the $100,000 AAMI Blue Diamond Preview for colts and geldings over 1000m at Sandown on January 26.

Galen seems to have inherited the qualities of her dam Ginzano, who won four of her first five races as a two-year-old, including the Reisling Slipper Trial and Doomben Classic.

An $80,000 purchase at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale in Sydney last year, Galen is raced by Hong Kong-based Keith Hsu.

O'Brien said Galen was a natural two-year-old.

"He has never been shin-sore and he flew the machine (barriers) the first time," he said.

While Galen will be aimed at the Blue Diamond Stakes, restricted city class winner King's Champ ($3 to $2.60 fav) is also a galloper on the rise.

King's Champ has won his past four starts and had the Woorak Handicap (1400m) in his keeping on the home turn before scoring by three lengths.

"You don't know where he might end up," O'Brien said.

"Horses get winning habits. Valedictum (Group 1 Emirates Stakes winner last spring) was at the same stage this time last year."

O'Brien said he would consider stepping up King's Champ to the listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on January 28.

King's Champ was ready to be sold to Macau for $60,000, but O'Brien decided to buy the horse for a group of friends.

O'Brien is maintaining his ranking as a rising star in training ranks and is fourth on the Melbourne trainers' premiership with 20 winners.

by Tim Habel - Sunday Herald Sun

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