Ballack to go West

WHILE most Melbourne stables are heading to Sydney to chase Group 1 glory on Saturday, Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien's focus has turned west.

O'Brien has sent his promising three-year-old Ballack to Perth to tackle the Group 1 West Australian Derby (2400m) at Ascot. "It's a $400,000 Group 1 race so it's been in the back of my mind," O'Brien said.

The trainer said he was confident Ballack would run well.

"They are the four main local chances. I would have to say he's got a super chance," O'Brien said.

"The top two in the race, Mansion House and New Spice, have had setbacks recently. The fillies who fought out the Western Australian Oaks, Westerly Breeze and Dante's Dash, have the next best form."

Mansion House (barrier 20) and New Spice (17) have also drawn poorly.

Ballack, who has raced four times, won over 2040m at Moonee Valley two starts back, then last start was an unlucky second behind Blessed at the same track and distance.

"He's was wide throughout so it was a big effort. Blessed is a promising Zabeel filly," O'Brien said.

O'Brien said Ballack, who is by staying sire Montjeu, would relish the rise to 2400m. He is a $7 chance in TAB Sportsbet markets.

David Hayes' promising filly Lady Mambo is a $15 chance in the same race.

Flemington jockey James Winks, 23, will partner Ballack. He has ridden four Group 1 seconds, all in Singapore.

"He's ridden the horse at his last three starts and has helped get the horse going," O'Brien said.

by Michael Manley - HeraldSun

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