O'Brien eyes an omen double

A YEAR ago, Glamour Puss arrived at the stables of Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien eligible for class one races; since then, the mare has gathered two group 1 victories, including yesterday's Salinger Stakes (1200 m) at Flemington.

The high-class mare showed exactly how much talent she had when she raced away from some of the best sprinters in Australia in the Salinger. And her win could be an omen for O'Brien, who collected the group 1 1200 and 3200 metres double in Adelaide last May when Glamour Puss won the Goodwood Handicap on the Saturday and Demerger the Adelaide Cup on the Monday.

Demerger has been the subject of a series in The Age this spring that has followed her progress on the Melbourne Cup trail, and will be in the big two-miler on Tuesday. "I'd like to think we can pull off the double," O'Brien said. "I've got Demerger going probably a length or two better, but the Melbourne Cup is some race, isn't it?"

O'Brien, elated with Glamour Puss yesterday, said he had set the mare for the feature sprint some months ago. "We've had the Salinger marked in for a long, long time and it's wonderful to achieve that goal. I'm thinking of backing her up next Saturday, perhaps, but then it's to the paddock for autumn."

O'Brien pointed out that Glamour Puss had arrived at his stable exactly a year ago eligible for class one races. He said that when he saw the now five-year-old, he knew she was a class galloper. "I took one look at her and knew that she had quality and ability," he said.

Glamour Puss was trained by Paul O'Sullivan in New Zealand, but was transferred to O'Brien with her owner Gary Chittick in search of black type for the mare. "We've had two or three fairly sizeable offers from American interests to buy Glamour Puss, but at this stage we've rejected them," O'Brien said. "If I can convince Gary to come around to my way of thinking and send her to England next year, I think she would be more than competitive over there."

The Lee Freedman-trained Falkirk was backed from $6.50 to $3.60 favourite, but after leading in the early stages, the five-year-old stallion began to struggle at the 400-metre mark and finished well back. Glamour Puss was a drifter from $5.50, starting at $8.50.

The victory gave rider Steven King his 50th group 1 success. "I also gave Damien Oliver his 50th group 1 winner," said O'Brien. "And I reminded Steven of that before the race."

Glamour Puss won by a length-and-a-quarter from $13 chance Barely A Moment, with the international sprinter Cape Of Good Hope ($17) a head away third.

By Patrick Bartley - The Age

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