Classy filly Melrose Place will be stepping up to 1400 metres for the first time in the Listed Dandenong Stakes at Caulfield this Saturday.
Melrose Place impressed on the provincial circuit, after making her debut with a second place finish behind Thermal Current at Geelong in August, and finished an unlucky fifth in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on October 5 before breaking through for her maiden metropolitan victory in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day last weekend.
The three-year-old was originally expected to head to the paddock after her win but O’Brien told Racing Ahead that the ease of the victory and the way that the Purrealist filly bounced back from the run encouraged him to give the promising galloper her first run over 1400 metres this weekend.
“She has come through it really well,” O’Brien said.
“We freshened her up with that race in mind but she certainly didn’t have a hard run; Damien didn’t really ever have to ask her too much.
“She pulled up so well that we thought we would run her in this race on Saturday and get more of an idea on whether she can stretch out past the 1200 metres in the autumn and give us more options.”
Melrose Place will jump from barrier six with Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver on board and O’Brien is confident that she will get a lovely run into the race; with speed maps indicating that there should be good pace in the Listed event.
“Damien was sort of mid-fieldish on her the other day and I don’t expect her to be jostling for the lead,” O’Brien said.
“She should get some cover and hopefully she can finish off as well as she did in that race at Flemington.”
O’Brien had a strong 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, highlighted by the victory of Shamus Award in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), and there is set to be plenty of media attention on his stable in the coming months with Belle Couture, the half-sister to Black Caviar, expected to make her racing debut in December.
The Flemington-based trainer said that Belle Couture will trial sometime in the next fortnight and said that he is delighted with the condition of the daughter of Redoute’s Choice, who is a full sister to $5 million colt Jimmy who is fighting for survival at the Werribee Veterinary Clinic.
“She came back to the Flemington stable last weekend and she is ready to trial next week or the week after,” O’Brien said.
“I expect to see her at the races probably sometime in December.
“She has always been a cracking filly but now that she is a spring three-year-old she is a very imposing type.
“I am very pleased with her progress so far.”