Victorians Out To Fly Flag In England

Some lucrative prizemoney and increased stud value for Glamour Puss is not all Danny O’Brien is hoping to gain from his impending trip to England with his star sprinting mare.

The Flemington trainer considers the trip to the antipodes a chance to further consolidate Victorian racing’s place as a world leader and he is looking upon himself and Glamour Puss as unofficial ambassadors for Victorian racing.

``It’s certainly interesting for people in Victoria to see how our horses measure up when they travel overseas and we’re certainly hoping we can give a good account of ourselves for all Victorians,’’ O’Brien said.

``Hopefully it all goes well.’’

Glamour Puss is one of three Australians heading to England to contest the Group 2 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) on Tuesday 20 June and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on Saturday 24 June during the Royal Ascot carnival. Both races are part of the Global Sprint Challenge, the first two legs of which were held in Melbourne during February.

She won’t be the only one flying the Victorian flag in England with the Lee Freedman-trained Falkirk also making the trip over. The Victorian duo will be joined by Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap champion Takeover Target, who can move two-thirds of the way towards claiming the $1.3 million Global Sprint Challenge bonus with a win in the King’s Stand Stakes.

While the trip to England will be the first northern hemisphere racing assault for both Glamour Puss and O’Brien, the trainer said Glamour Puss was in at least as good a condition as in Melbourne Cup week when she won the Group 1 Salinger Stakes (1200m) and the Group 2 The Age Classic (1200m).

``The two races we set her for (in the autumn) were the Newmarket and the TJ Smith in Sydney and while she didn’t win she had no luck in either of them,’’ O’Brien said of Glamour Puss, who will be ridden by Steven King in England.

``She ran fourth in the Newmarket, beaten a length, and she ran second, beaten a short head, in the TJ Smith. So she’s going every bit as well as she was in the spring.’’

O’Brien said an English campaign was specifically identified for Glamour Puss, who has run her best races down the famous Flemington straight course. Both the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes are also run over a straight course.

``We think these races in England will really suit her,’’ he said. ``We always targeted this, she’s got excellent form down straight at Flemington, and we’re hoping she can translate that over to the UK.’’

It is straight-track form that also convinced the Freedman camp to head to England with Falkirk. While the Tale Of The Cat five-year-old failed at his most recent outing in the Goodwood Handicap (1200m), when 15th of 20 runners, his two most recent wins have been down the Flemington straight, both at black-type level.

Falkirk will be ridden by leading British jockey Johnny Murtagh in England. Murtagh is no stranger to guiding Australian runners to victory at Ascot as he was aboard Choisir when the Paul Perry-trained colt won both the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes three years ago.

by Racing Victoria