iskander

O'Brien's Dubai duo head to Flemington


Barbaricus and Valedictum have been entered in multiple races at Saturday’s Flemington meeting ahead of being flown to Dubai next week.

Trainer Danny O’Brien has nominated the pair for the Chester Manifold Stakes (1410m), Kensington Stakes (1100m) and Tauto Hcp (1610m).

Barbaricus was also one of four O’Brien-prepared gallopers nominated for the Comedy King Hcp (2520m), the others being last-start Perth Cup third placegetter Ballack, Hargitay and Vigor who is chasing his fifth consecutive metropolitan win.

"Barbaricus and Valedictum will both resume on Saturday but I want to see the weights before deciding which races they’ll run in," O’Brien said.

"They are off to Dubai next Tuesday.

"We are starting them early so they go there nice and fit."

O’Brien travelled to Dubai in late November last year to check out the facilities and said he was attracted to taking horses to race there because of the lucrative prizemoney on offer.

Barbaricus, third in the Caulfield Cup and runner-up in the Mackinnon Stakes last spring, has been set for the $7.7 million Sheema Classic (2400m) run on World Cup night on March 28.

O’Brien also intends to send 2007 Caulfield Cup winner Master O’Reilly to Dubai for the Sheema Classic, but not until after he runs in the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 7.

"Because Barbaricus is not a Group One winner yet and has a lower rating than Master O’Reilly, he can run in two or three of the lesser races at the Dubai carnival on the way to that race (Sheema Classic) and they are pretty decent prizemoney races too."

Valedictum will run in suitable races up to 1600 metres.

"In the lead up to the World Cup meeting they have 10 weeks of racing and a lot of what we’d class as Listed or Group Three class races worth between $US150,000 to $US200,000 which is probably where Valedictum is now," O’Brien said.

Barbaricus hasn’t raced since finishing 19th in the Melbourne Cup, while Master O’Reilly hasn’t appeared since running fourth in the same race.

Valedictum has had a nine-week let-up since running 10th to All Silent in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) on his home track at Flemington on November 8, a race the eight-year-old Umatilla gelding won in 2005.

Tony Noonan was the first Australian trainer to target the lesser type races at the Dubai carnival in 2007 winning two races with Benedetti and one with Smart And Mighty.

The Tony Vasil-trained Elvstroem became the first Australian-trained horse to win in Dubai when he led all the way in the 2005 Dubai Duty Free (1777m), the same race Ross McDonald’s seven-time Group One winner Weekend Hussler is scheduled to contest this year.
By Mark Ryan