After a successful Melbourne Cup carnival, the show is rolling on for trainer Danny O’Brien who is looking for feature race success at Sandown.
O’Brien won four stakes races during the four-meeting Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington highlighted by his first Melbourne Cup with Vow And Declare and first VRC Oaks with Miami Bound.
Another Cup week stakes winner for the stable was colt Banquo who will attempt to continue his rise in Saturday’s Group Two Sandown Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds.
A younger brother to Group One Oakleigh Plate winner Booker, Banquo has two wins from five starts and will run on a seven-day back-up after winning the Listed Springtime Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
“He’s been really good since last Saturday and we think he’s going to run really well,” O’Brien said.
Banquo started his career with New Zealand trainer Stephen Marsh and raced twice for him in Melbourne earlier this year before remaining in Australia to join O’Brien’s stable.
He made a late introduction to the spring, running second in a Bendigo maiden last month before winning a Sale maiden and taking another step up to win at Flemington.
“He’s a horse we only got after he had had a couple of runs in the winter so we gave him a spell and had an open mind on him all spring,” O’Brien said.
“He’s made really good progress and come a long way in a short time. We think he’s a really nice colt so when he has pulled up well from last week it’s an obvious one to run him in this race.
“He’s a horse that’s on the up.”
With Damien Oliver suspended for Saturday’s meeting, O’Brien has called on Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams to ride Banquo.
O’Brien does not believe the outside draw will worry Banquo in a field which has been reduced to 10 after the scratching of the Chris Waller-trained Kavalmo who is instead scheduled to run in Saturday’s Spring Stakes at Newcastle.
“He has good gate speed and I suspect he goes forward and will be either outside the leader or one out and one back,” O’Brien said.
Along with Banquo, O’Brien has Order Of Command in Saturday’s Group Three Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) and lightly raced filly Zoujea in the Listed Twilight Glow Stakes (1400m).