O'Brien merry after trial romp

Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien has his eye on a race at Moonee Valley later this month for Merriest after the mare's five-length trial win at Cranbourne on Tuesday morning.

Merriest won first-up at Caulfield last time in but O'Brien said he wanted a track with give in it for the four-year-old, who won the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last spring.

Merriest jumped straight to the front for jockey Damien Oliver in her Cranbourne trial before cruising home to beat Caulfield Guineas placegetter Seaburge and Group III Eclipse Stakes winner Turnitaround.

"She went super," O'Brien said. "She is obviously a quality mare and she trialled nicely down the straight in a softish trial the other day.

"She did a bit more this morning and we were rapt. Ollie was rapt in her and she got through the soft ground really well and she's going to be well in the mix in anything she runs in first-up."

Merriest finished fourth in the Group II Euclase Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide at her previous run in May but O'Brien said the daughter of Denman could resume below stakes level at Moonee Valley on August 26.

O'Brien nominated Merriest for a BM90 race at Flemington on Saturday but he won't be accepting for that race.

"She won't run at Flemington on Saturday," O'Brien said. "We'd like to find some ground with some cut in it for her first-up run and that might not be Caulfield either.

"We'll stick to mares' grade and try to kick off with a win in mares' grade. I would suspect she would stay in mares' grade for most of her spring.

"She has plenty of mares' stakes races that would be ideal for her but we'll probably just kick her off in a mares' handicap at the Valley."

Story by Brad Waters, to view Racenet story click here

Pic by Racing Photos