O'Brien looking for big spring from three-year-olds
Danny O’Brien is hoping the debut win of Cabeza is a sign of things to come from his stable’s band of unraced three-year-olds heading into the spring.
O’Brien has kept the son of Zabeel on ice waiting for the tracks to dry out and was impressed with the courage the youngster showed in fighting back to win Wednesday’s Attley Handicap (1300m) at Sandown.
After being headed in the straight, apprentice Brent Evans lifted the colt to score by a nose from Midnight Glory who won his debut at Donald last start with Most Immediate, who was third to Alkhafif at Caulfield at his only start, 1-1/2 lengths away third.
O’Brien said it had been hard to get a line on Cabeza with so many unraced horses in the stable but the signs were encouraging for the future.
"We have got 10 or 12 horses like him, all unraced, so it was nice to see him win," O’Brien said.
"It gives us a bit more confidence with the others at home."
Zabeel’s progeny usually need time and distance to produce their best but Cabeza derives speed from his dam Lady Iguazu who won from 12 races from 800 metres to 2000 metres including eight stakes races.
Cabeza’s half-sister Splashing Out, by O’Reilly, won the Group Three Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) at her third start and was second to Gold Edition in the Group One Ascot Vale Stakes (1200m) at her fourth.
"He is a bit sharper than the average Zabeel and being more athletic is not typical of the normal staying Zabeel type," O’Brien said.
"He has been ready to run for about a month but we haven’t found a track we were happy to run him on."
O’Brien said the slow track on Wednesday nearly put him off again but because of the timeframe he decided to take the chance.
"He got through it and he will learn a lot from it," O’Brien said.
"Hopefully he will go on further into the spring."
Most Immediate’s jockey Steven King was suspended for eight meetings after he shifted in on his mount near the 1100 metres resulting in Rentabar losing his position.
King will miss the ride on the O’Brien-trained Rios in Saturday’s Listed Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
His suspension ends on Thursday next week allowing him to resume riding at Geelong on August 14.
By Robert Windmill