Trainer Danny O’Brien said he is just as confident Russian Camelot can challenge for the Melbourne Cup after Saturday’s Cox Plate as he was before the great race won by Sir Dragonet.
Russian Camelot was used up a little early to find a forward spot from his wide barrier and although he could not match the finishing bursts of the imports Sir Dragonet and Armory, O’Brien said he is taking plenty of positives from the race.
‘’He ran super and I am confident, given the way he’s come through the race, that he’ll run a great race in the Melbourne Cup,’’ O’Brien said on Sunday.
‘’We used him up early there on Saturday to get a position but I’d love to ride him a bit quieter back midfield and give him a bit of a rest and then let him really finish off.’’
O’Brien confirmed that Russian Camelot will be joined in the Melbourne Cup by his Oaks winner Miami Bound, who found her best form last Saturday when a runaway winner of the Moonee Valley Cup.
Before O’Brien’s pair face the starter in next Tuesday week’s Cup, the stable will challenge for two more group 1s on Saturday’s opening day of the Victoria Racing Club carnival.
A back injury halted Flying Award’s charge towards the Caulfield Guineas, but O’Brien said the horse was capable of meeting his new spring challenge in Saturday’s group 1 $1.5 million Coolmore Stud Stakes down the Flemington straight.
‘’He’ll be a finisher in the race as he’s not a typically sharp 1200-metre horse but we’re really happy with how he’s come on and he’ll go into the race with blinkers first time,’’ O’Brien said.
Flying Award was one of the Guineas favourites before the back ailment flared when he finished last in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.
Sportsbet have him marked a $15 chance in the group 1.
O’Brien withdrew Young Werther from last Saturday’s Vase (2040m) at The Valley due to the downgrade in track condition, but he said the veteran of just two race starts had the grounding for the 2500-metre classic.
‘’I just didn’t want to run him on a wet track seven days before the derby, so he’ll go to the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday for his final piece of work and that’ll have him spot-on for the derby.
‘’He’s inexperienced there’s no doubt but we really do think he can run really well in the race,’’ he said.
Young Werther is a $6.50 chance in the derby.