O’Brien’s Lucky he’s in the know
THERE’S very little that jockey Chris O’Brien doesn’t know about durable galloper Mighty Lucky. It comes from spending every morning – and he’s not kidding about that on the seven-yearold’s back what Mighty Lucky is telling him is that he’s all business. O’Brien has been itching to get Mighty Lucky back the races since the seven-year-old’s eye-catching first-up fifth in Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) two weeks ago. That was a sign that the gelding over whatever caused him to fail badly in his four runs the spring. “He’s actually a very smart horse, that’s half his problem,” O’Brien said. “He knew there was something not right with him last preparation and he started thinking about it. “He wasn’t a happy horse, not in the right head space but this time he is absolutely loving it. You can see he’s a complete- ly different horse.”
So that gives O’Brien confidence the horse is ready to go one better than 2016 in tomorrow’s Group 3 $200,000 Livamol Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) despite having another awkward barrier to overcome.
Last year Mighty Lucky was beaten half a length by Amovatio at his second run from a spell and was then also narrowly beaten, though unplaced, in the Scone Cup.
Trainer Fred Cowell has taken a fairly similar path to Hawkesbury with the main difference being Mighty Lucky won a 1400m Benchmark 100 race at Randwick as his lead up while he tackled the Group 3 sprint this year.
O’Brien said parallels can be drawn between his first-up effort a year ago and slashing performance on an unsuitable heavy track April 15.
“There were Group 1 winners in the field and he beat a couple of them home so it shows how well he is going this preparation,” said.
“He probably likes it a bit drier which makes the run even better. He’s not really heavy track horse.”
Of course O’Brien is a Group 1 winning rider in his own right having partnered Sincero to victory in the 2011 George Main Stakes – one of 10 wins on board the former topliner.
The 47-year-old Gosford based jockey has been Mighty Lucky’s regular rider since Nathan Thomas relocated to Queensland about 18 months and also took over the trackwork duty from last spring.
Chris O’Brien with Mighty Lucky