O’Brien stayer’s En­gine tick­ing over ahead of ‘Cup day’

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - By RAY HICKSON

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.”

Pic Racing Pho­tos

De Lit­tle En­gine is ca­pa­ble of im­prov­ing on last year’s third in to­mor­row’s An­drew Rams­den Stakes

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