O’Brien stayer’s Engine ticking over ahead of ‘Cup day’
STAYER De Little Engine will never line up in the big one at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November so tomorrow’s Listed $200,000 Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) is his Melbourne Cup.
Trainer Danny O’Brien said he couldn’t have the six-year-old, a noted Flemington performer, in better shape on the back of a dominant victory over 2800m two weeks ago.
In fact, all four of De Little Engine’s wins at HQ have been over 2540m or further.
The gelding ran third in the Ramsden last year with 59.5kg so while he’s top weight tomorrow O’Brien feels he’s still very well suited.
“His form is probably a bit better than it was last year, all his runs have been excellent,” he said.
“He’s below the hot spring standard, ran some credible races in the but the depth is so much stronger than what it was.
“I was impressed with his win last start and I don’t think the distance presents any concerns for him.”
Stablemate Shampion earned herself a shot at the Ramsden with a plucky third in the 4000m Marathon Final at Caulfield last month.
The mare made a dash for home on the turn before being run down.
O’Brien said while she’s definitely the second stringer she’ll certainly have no issues running out the two miles.
“She deserves a spot in the race, she’s fit and I’m sure she’ll give a good account,” he said.
“On ratings she deserves a bit more weight relief (off him) but we thought we’d give her a chance at some black type.”
Second Bullet was nominated for the two mile event but will instead take his place in the Archer Hall Of Fame Trophy (2000m).
The gelding was a dominant winner at Morphettville on May 6 and O’Brien said with the 3kg claim for apprentice Boris Thornton he’s very attractively weighted.
“He would have had to carry 60kg over two miles and he’s not a big horse so going to 2000m race with 57kg minus claim suits,” he said.
“He won well last start in Adelaide and he’s well placed again.”
De Little Engine is capable of improving on last year’s third in tomorrow’s Andrew Ramsden Stakes