O’Brien aims at more Flemington joy


Danny O'Brien certainly wasn't upset when he saw the races were at Flemington again this Saturday.

Not only because it is his home track, but also due to the outstanding record the top trainer has had at Victorian racing Headquarters since racing resumed after a five-week break following the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

O'Brien has prepared a winner at each of the four meetings Flemington has hosted this summer, including the Group 3 Standish Handicap with Adamantium on New Year's Day.

“We only had a reasonably light muster of Spring horses and when that happens you tend to hold them back for when you think they'll be able to win and that is over summer for most of them,” O'Brien said.

“It's worked well. We've got some good momentum going at the moment, the horses seem to be running well and hopefully keep building on that into autumn.”

O'Brien has four hopes at making it five Flemington meetings in a row with a winner, including Kutchinsky, pictured, in the $80,000 Piping Lane Handicap (2000m).

The former talented three-year-old, now six, is in his first preparation at Flemington after previously being prepared by Tony Noonan at Mornington and O'Brien thinks he is finally starting to work out the Group 3 winner.

The Anabaa gelding turned in his best performance in five starts for O'Brien last time out when second to Tuscan Fire, who has subsequently won again at Flemington, on New Year's Day.

“He's not a horse that's won out of turn – he's only won three races in his life (from 29 starts) – and he's a bit of a thinker, so he's taking me a little bit to work out,” O'Brien said.

“But we've done a few things differently in the last month and his last run behind Tuscan Fire seemed to suggest he was getting back to some of his three-year-old form.

“He's a bit of a work in progress, but I think we're winning.”

Kutchinsky occupies the $5 third line in TAB's market on the Piping Lane Handicap, which is sandwiched between two other events in which O'Brien is engaged.

The New Boy, a narrow second placegetter at his past two starts, will chase a deserved win in the $80,000 Craftsman Handicap (1720m), for which he is a $9 chance, with Thorn Star ($17) the emergency for the $80,000 Domain Handicap (1410m) that rounds out the card.

O'Brien's other representative steps out in the first race and while he doesn't have high hopes for Badabing Badaboom this weekend, the trainer has lofty ambitions for the daughter of Encosta de Lago.

“She's a filly that might end up in an Oaks one day,” O'Brien said. “She's a staying-style of Encosta. We're going there to kick her off on Saturday, but she'd need plenty of pressure on to get over the top of them because she's not a natural speed filly.”

Badabing Badaboom is an $11 chance in the Nursery Handicap, which sees Devil Woman, who has finished third at her two starts to date, the $4 favourite in advance of David Hayes-trained blueblood The Yowie ($4.60) and Peter Snowden-trained debutant Metastasio ($5.50).

Story by Brad Bishop, to view full Racing Victoria story click here

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here 

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