La­trobe to give the raiders an­other G1

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - CRAIG BREN­NAN

IR­ISH trainer Joseph O’Brien has re­turned for a sec­ond Aus­tralian visit with La­trobe to con­test the Group 1 Mackin­non Stakes (2000m) at Flem­ing­ton to­mor­row.

O’Brien made head­lines around the world 12 months ago when Rekin­dling de­feated Jo­hannes Ver­meer, trained by his fa­ther Ai­dan, in the Mel­bourne Cup.

Like Rekin­dling, La­trobe is a north­ern hemi­sphere-bred three-year-old and was sent to Aus­tralia to pre­pare for the Mel­bourne Cup.

But the team, which in­cludes own­ers Lloyd and Nick Wil­liams, felt he wasn’t ma­ture enough for such an ar­du­ous race.

“He didn’t have the miles on the clock that Rekin­dling had and he wasn’t a guar­an­teed stayer, a less ma­ture colt,” O’Brien said.

“Hav­ing spo­ken to Lloyd and Nick, we thought the Mackin­non might be a bet­ter spot for him.”

O’Brien in­spected La­trobe at Wer­ribee on Wed­nes­day as the colt rounded out his prepa­ra­tion for to­mor­row’s race.

He liked what he saw, say­ing the team in Mel­bourne look­ing af­ter colt had done a tremen­dous job.

“He seems to have trav­elled down well and I’m look­ing for­ward to the race,” he said.

“Hope­fully he’ll get there in one piece and we’ll see what hap­pens.”

With Hugh Bow­man in­cur­ring a one-month sus­pen­sion stem­ming from three charges for his ride on Mel­bourne Cup run­ner-up Marmelo, La­trobe will be rid­den by Mark Zahra.

La­trobe de­feated Rostropovich, fifth in the Cup, in the Ir­ish Derby June and hasn’t raced since fin­ish­ing sec­ond the St Leger over 2800m in Septem­ber.

The Mackin­non Stakes will also fea­ture Cup-win­ning trainer Char­lie Ap­pleby who sad­dle Blair House in the $2 mil­lion weight-for-age con­test.

Blair House has been in­stalled the $2.30 early favourite with La­trobe sec­ond pick at $5.

O’Brien changed the face of the Mel­bourne Cup with Rekin­dling’s vic­tory as a north­ern hemi­sphere three-year-old, a feat repli­cated by the Ap­ple­by­trained Cross Counter on Tues­day.

“Fair play to Char­lie and all the team they did a fan­tas­tic job with horse,” O’Brien said.

“They mapped out the race for quite a few months and I sup­pose it was plan well ex­e­cuted.

“It great race hope­fully I’ll have some­thing to run in it next year.”

Trainer Joseph O’Brien is try­ing to claim an­other Aus­tralian Group 1 in to­mor­row’s Mackin­non Stakes with La­trobe.

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