O'Brien's Star out to make amends

It can be very frustrating taking a horse to the races with high expectations only for it to fail with no apparent excuse.

Two weeks ago Danny O'Brien took Prairie Star to Caulfield for the Group 3 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m), believing the imported galloper would be finishing off the race strongly first up.

Instead, Prairie Star was going backwards in the straight and beat just three runners to the line, when finishing tenth behind Budriguez.

On Saturday at Caulfield, O'Brien is hoping that Prairie Star can get his Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign back on track, in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m).

"He spelled well after the spring and had been working nicely going into that race first up, so at least we had a reason for his poor performance," O'Brien said.

The reason was that Prairie Star was found to be suffering from Thumps, a condition likened to hiccups in humans, where the horse's diaphragm spasms and it cannot breath properly.

"There have been plenty of occasions where a horse that has had the Thumps comes out and wins or runs very well at their next start."

"We believe the diagnosis (of Thumps) is correct but until you get them back under race pressure there is always something of a question mark against them after a first up performance like that."

Prairie Star showed a glimpse of his ability with a solid fourth in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes over 2000 metres at Flemington last November, at just his second Australian outing.

The Young Stakes, the second leg of G1 Middle Distance Championship, brings together a strong field of ten, headed by first leg minor placegetters Mawingo and Mr Moet, with all runners nominated for the Darley Australian Cup, the final leg of the Championship.

"The longer trip will suit so we are obviously looking for him to turn it around on Saturday.

"Hopefully we can see him running really well and we can push on to the Australian Cup with a bit of confidence," O'Brien said.

Ben Melham, who has ridden Prairie Star in all three of his Australian runs, retains the ride on the son of Peintre Celebre.

Story by Andrew Garvey, to view full Racing Victoria story click here

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here