O'Brien wary of the Kiwis
Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien believes Littorio and two Kiwis are the biggest dangers to him posting back-to-back victories in this year's Caulfield Cup.
No trainer will enter Saturday's $2.55 million staying test with a stronger hand than O'Brien, who will saddle up last year's winner Master O'Reilly and runner-up Douro Valley.
A week after Master O'Reilly signalled he was back to his best form with a slashing second in the Turnbull Stakes, Douro Valley shocked punters with an upset victory in the G1 Yalumba Stakes.
Master O'Reilly was the third favourite on $7 while Douro Valley's win saw his odds slashed from $51 to $13.
The seven-year-old will drop six kilos to 53kg for the Caulfield Cup, but could rise to 54.5kg should Pompeii Ruler head straight to the Cox Plate after his unlucky second in the Yalumba.
Price said on Saturday that he was leaning towards bypassing the Caulfield Cup.
O'Brien said AJC Derby winner Nom Du Jeu, runner-up Red Ruler, who both ran excellent Caulfield Cup trials last Saturday behind Princess Coup, and Littorio would be the toughest to beat next weekend.
"I think they're the ones to be wary of," he said. "They're very good 2400m horses."
"We've got a lot of respect for the horses coming over from New Zealand. I think of the horses in Australia we're going to be very hard to beat."
While Douro Valley will meet Master O'Reilly four kilos better for last year's defeat in the Cup, O'Brien said the latter would be the stable elect next Saturday.
"I'd have to say at 2400m that Master O'Reilly is outstanding, this guy's obviously very good," he said. "But they're both entitled to be terrific chances."
Ominously for his rivals, O'Brien said both gallopers were racing better than they were 12 months ago.
"Him and Master O'Reilly are going a couple of lengths better than last year but they've got a little extra bit of weight this year," he said.
"They're both had terrific efforts in proper races this time. Last year they were going through restricted races."
"This is a Caulfield Stakes and last week Master O'Reilly ran second in a Turnbull."
"They were coming out of Naturalisms and Winning Edges last year.
By Andrew Wu
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Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here
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