O'Brien hits the mark with three-year-olds

By: Craig Brennan Sunday 22 September 2019

Two years of planning has trainer Danny O'Brien finally reaping the rewards with his team of staying three-year-olds.

Skiddaw added to O'Brien's three-year-old haul of recent weeks winning the 4Cyte For Living Legends Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday and is on a path to the Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 2.

O'Brien said Skiddaw would run in the UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 5, the same day stablemate, VRC Oaks prospect Miami Bound runs in the Group Two Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m).

Another of O'Brien's potential Derby contenders, Serious Liaison, runs in the Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington on Wednesday.

"We've had six or seven three-year-old individual winners in the last 10 days. It looks easy but it's two years work to get there," O'Brien said.

"They were all bought at the yearling sales back at the start of 2018 and all had a good grounding and we're now getting the result.

"It's always promising when young horses are putting their hands up and hopefully there's bigger things to come."

O'Brien said Skiddaw and Serious Liaison shaped as Derby contenders after he analysed the data collected from gallops on his treadmill which pointed to the three-year-olds both having good hearts and lungs.

He said the 1800m of Wednesday's Derby Trial fitted in nicely to Serious Liaison's campaign.

"The race is in a nice spot in the calendar now for young horses like him to get their chance at Flemington, to have a look at them with the chance of running in the Derby," he said.

From the time he started working with Serious Liaison O'Brien has felt he was a horse who could win a nice race.

"His first run he got back and was timid and his second run he was a lot better but again found traffic which wasn't his fault, but was very strong in the last 200 metres," O'Brien said.

"Hopefully he's taken a bit of experience from those two runs and can continue to put it together each time he steps out."

With Damien Oliver who was aboard Serious Liaison in his 1600m win at Bendigo suspended, Craig Williams takes the mount on Wednesday.