Danny O’Brien has won a Blue Diamond, a Caulfield Cup and a Cox Plate, so he is well versed in what it takes to succeed in some of Victoria’s premier races.

But the trainer, who splits his operation between a beach base at Barwon Heads near Geelong and stables at Flemington, has yet to taste success in one of the most historic races of them all, the Victoria Derby. The filly Shamrocker scored for the stable in the Australian Derby in Sydney eight years ago and this year O’Brien is hopeful he can match that feat in his home state.

O’Brien, who has had to painstakingly rebuild his business after being swept up in the cobalt issues that dogged Victorian racing some years ago, has one promising colt, Skiddaw, already earmarked for the 2500 metre Flemington classic.

And tomorrow on Wednesday he will run another potential Derby candidate in Serious Liaison , pictured winning below right, in the 1800 metre trial at headquarters.

‘‘He’s a nice horse. He’s only had the two runs and he won a mile maiden up at Bendigo on that metropolitan meeting earlier in September. He won well then and we will find out more about him on Wednesday,’’ O’Brien said.

Skiddaw, in contrast, is much more experienced. His win at Caulfield in the 1600 metre race last Saturday was his second career victory in seven starts.

The son of the sprinter, Hinchinbrook, is out of a mare called Hidden Message who stayed at least 2000metres.

O’Brien is confident that Skiddaw should take after his mother and he should know, as he had her in his care during her racing days. ‘‘She won five or six races all around 2000 metres and he’s a colt that we have got plenty of time for,’’ says O’Brien.

‘‘We have had the derby prep in mind for him. He ran well in shorter races during the early spring and stepping up in distance he is really starting to show the talent he has got.’’

O’Brien believes that horses do need to be seasoned to have any chance of coming through such an arduous test so early in their career, which might suggest Skiddaw could be perfectly placed.

‘‘All the data we have on him at home says he has a big set of lungs and big heart and that will carry him a long way as he goes further.’’

Skiddaw will continue the Derby campaign by running in the 1800m race for three-year-olds at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes day.

The O’Brien stable has enjoyed a purple patch in recent days with three-year-olds, sending out several inexperienced horses to win races.

‘‘It looks easy but that’s two years of work to get them there. They were all bought at the yearling sales back at the start of 2018 and they have all had a good grounding and we are getting a good result. It doesn’t just play in your lap. If you want to be a factor in your local three-year-old races you have to have a long-term approach.’’

O’Brien is also likely to have a strong interest in the VRC Oaks as his promising three-year-old filly Miami Bound is also on a classic campaign. She ran third on debut at Flemington in the late Autumn and has won twice this spring over 1400 metres and 1600 metres at Bendigo.

Story by Michael Lynch for The Age

Pics by Racing Photos