Promising stayer returns

Danny O’Brien will saddle up a strong team of five runners at Sportingbet Park Sandown tomorrow, headed by Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) placegetter Castlzeberg in the $35,000 Guinot International Handicap (1600m).

A winner of the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa in New Zealand in February, the four-year-old son finished last of 16 at his Australian debut in a 1800m three-year-old handicap at Caulfield in April.

However, according to O’Brien there were genuine excuses for that performance, with the Flemington-based trainer saying the son of Castledale had pulled up with a viral complaint which was now well behind him.

“We’re really happy with him; it’s his first full preparation since he has come over from New Zealand, he had a break down at Barwon Heads and did some pre-training work down there and he’s come back in really good shape as a four-year-old,” O’Brien said.

“He’s a lovely style of horse, he went right through to the New Zealand Derby in his first preparation so he’s obviously got plenty of ability and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races.

“It looks a good kick off point for a horse that will end up at 2400 metres, particularly now that the track has dried out.”

Set to be partnered by Craig Williams from barrier three, O’Brien said they would just take it one race at a time with Castlzeberg despite the horse holding a nomination for the BMW Caulfield Cup.

“There are no lofty ambitions for him at the moment; we’re just going to find out a little bit more about him each time we go to the races,” he said.

Castlzeberg is currently rated a $51 for the Caulfield Cup with TAB fixed odds.

Another interesting O’Brien-trained four-year-old set to resume at Sportingbet Park tomorrow is daughter of Keeper, Keep De Rose.

Last seen at the races nearly ten months ago winning over 1700 metres at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day, O’Brien said her preparation would be guided by how she went tomorrow.

“She’s had a good build up over the winter and she looks great,” he said.

“She just had a little setback when she was ready to go to the races in the autumn which meant we had to pull up and go to the paddock.

“She’s another horse that will end up in a lot longer races but she’s a nice mare now and I’m looking forward to kicking her off tomorrow.

Castlzeberg and Keep De Rose aside, O’Brien will also run two intriguing first-starters, Letsgetsideways and Prince Albert in the $25,000 TVN Plate (1300m), as well as impressive first-up winner Defiant Angel in the $35,000 Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1200m).

By Magic Albert, Prince Albert currently holds a nomination for the BECK Caulfield Guineas for which he is priced at $81 with TAB fixed odds.

Story by Ben Asgari, to view full Racing Victoria story click here

Photo appears courtesy of New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing