Aidan O’Brien’s travelling foreman says the champion Irish trainer has never sent a better squad of horses to Melbourne for the Spring Carnival.
O’Brien sent a team of six horses, including Derby winners Anthony Van Dyck and Santiago, across the globe from Ireland for the 2020 Melbourne carnival.
O’Brien has won a Cox Plate with Adelaide and a Mackinnon Stakes with Magic Wand. But he will chase his first Caulfield and Melbourne Cup wins after more than a decade of trying.
His travelling foreman TJ Comerford has overseen O’Brien’s Melbourne team for several years. Comerford said O’Brien has sent his best team of horses to Melbourne yet.
“We try to bring good horses every year and we try to make a plan,” Comerford said. “We were even talking about bringing Magical this year.
TJ Comerford (right) said Aidan O’Brien’s spring team is the best the stable has sent to Melbourne. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“It just works out that these are the best bunch that we’ve ever brought.
“We came here last year and we got two winners, Hunting Horn (in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup) and Magic Wand, and Magic Wand ran three times last year.
“This is probably the best bunch we’ve brought as a whole.”
TAB has Anthony Van Dyck as an $8 equal favourite to win the Caulfield Cup, while Armory is an $11 chance in Cox Plate betting.
O’Brien’s main Melbourne Cup hopes Tiger Moth and Santiago are $9 and $15 chances respectively.
O’Brien’s six horses faced a hurdle on arrival in Melbourne when the stable was forced to change their feed due to a contamination crisis in France.
Caulfield Cup favourite Anthony Van Dyck spearheads Aidan O’Brien’s spring team in Melbourne. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
The problem forced Racing Victoria vets to test urine and blood samples for the substance zilpaterol, which is banned on race day.
Comerford said the horses surprised him with how well they handled the change in feed.
“They’ve adjusted very well,” Comerford said. “I actually didn’t expect it to be so smooth but it has been but it hasn’t been ideal.
“Especially when we’re used to feeding them what we’ve fed them and they’re used to getting what they were getting. It’s all gone well. Hopefully the Caulfield Cup will be our first race day and hopefully it goes smooth and they can all run.”
Racing Victoria expects to see the results of the tests on O’Brien’s team by the end of the week.
Originally published asIrish master assembles ‘best ever’ spring team
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