O'Brien two-year-old ready to fire


Trainer Danny O'Brien is confident talented two-year-old filly Donna Cattiva is ready for the biggest race of her life on Saturday when she lines up in the Group 1 TJ Smith at Eagle Farm.

The Captain Rio filly won convincingly over a mile in a listed event in Adelaide two starts back before a luckless second in the Gibson Carmichael at Flemington last start.

"She is a lovely filly with plenty of promise and you could argue that she should be unbeaten at a mile," O'Brien said.

"She has settled into Queensland very well and she is the only horse in the field that is proven over the distance so I am expecting her to be the strongest inside the final furlong."

A win by the filly on Saturday would further enhance O'Brien reputation with juvenile horses as it would be the fourth black-type two-year-old victory for the season.

In 2010, O'Brien won the Blue Diamond with star sprinter Star Witness and the Sires Produce Stakes at Flemington with Shamrocker, with both horses going on to win Group 1 races as three-year-olds.

The Victorian trainer, who was noted for his handling of staying horses, followed up by taking out the Sires in 2011 with Running Tall and this season has trained three individual stakes winning two-year-olds in Cambiaso, Bush Aviator and Donna Cattiva.

"The addition of our Barwon Heads training facility has complimented our Flemington stables as it gives diverse options that allows horses in our system every chance to reach their full potential," he said.

Donna Cattiva is not O'Brien's only Group 1 runner at the weekend as he has Group-winning filly Shopaholic lining up in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).

"I was more confident with her chances before the drawing the outside alley, but she is fit and well plus has a featherweight so with luck she can be figuring in the finish," O'Brien said.

Quality three-year-old Adamatium will also race at Eagle Farm in a 1600m listed race and the trainer is expecting a strong performance for the colt if the track contineus to dry out in the next 24 hours.

"He is a lovely horse and I can see him giving this race a shake if the track is in the dead range tomorrow."

In Victoria this weekend, O'Brien has consistent staying-type Keep Cool as one of the leading chances in a heat of the Banjo Patterson Series over 2500m at headquarters, while last start Flemington winner Eraset will be out to add the Swan Hill Cup to his resume in the feature country event on Sunday.

Photo by Terry Hann, Atkins Photography

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