Champion trainer Danny O’Brien is hoping Miami Bound will be rewarded for her strong Sydney campaign with victory in The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington.
A pair of Group 1 placings, in the Tancred Stakes (2400m) and Sydney Cup (3200m), has O’Brien bullish about the 2019 VRC Oaks winner dropping back in grade and distance on Saturday.
“She’s the horse in the race with clearly the strongest form,” O’Brien said.
“She comes here with two Group 1 placings and probably the only one in the race really stepping down in class.”
Miami Bound recorded the best last 600m in the Sydney Cup, coming from near-last to run third behind Selino and Rondinella.
A forecast rain-affected track, while not essential, has boosted O’Brien’s confidence going into the $400,000 feature, which comes with ballot exemption for the 2021 Melbourne Cup.
“Her last two runs have been on Good 4s, the Sydney Cup and Tancred and they’re stronger races than Saturday, her top of the ground form has been good this autumn,” O’Brien said.
“It’s potentially going to be a Soft 6, I think the track will be to her liking whatever happens.”
Danny O’Brien has thrown his support behind the Andrew Ramsden concept. Picture: Peter RistevskiSource:News Corp Australia
In response to commentary about the quality of the Ramsden field, O’Brien endorsed the race as a viable option for top local stayers to race at Flemington outside of the spring carnival.
“It’s a really good option, a nice staying race after the Sydney Cup, historically you haven’t had options with these horses,” O’Brien said.
Unlike Miami Bound, whose 105 rating would be enough to earn a second shot at the Cup after running 14th last year, stablemate Salto Angel will be desperate for the “golden ticket”.
The three-year-old filly, an 11-start maiden, has been runner-up six times, including last year in the Group 1 Oaks.
“She (Salto Angel) runs the trip really well,” O’Brien said.
“Rather than take her to Adelaide, she didn’t really run well when she travelled to Sydney, (we decided) to keep her at home,” O’Brien said.
“See how she can go down in the weights with 52kg against the older horses.”
Salto Angel was beaten a length last start in the Listed VRC St Leger behind fancied Ramsden contender, three-year-old gelding Through Irish Eyes.
O’Brien’s stable will be represented in three states on Saturday, with I Am In The Mood and Kentucky Tornado in Adelaide and form mare Fabric chasing more black type in Brisbane.
Ramsden field not short on quality
Flemington racing manager Leigh Jordon has endorsed the strength and future of The Andrew Ramsden despite the Melbourne Cup qualifier this year having only 10 runners.
The Victoria Racing Club executive said the $400,000 Listed race, which is “here to say”, should be judged on quality and not field size alone.
The Ramsden featured 11 starters last year, down from 18 in 2019, the first year the VRC bolstered the race with a “golden ticket” into the Cup.
Beaten Sydney Cup favourite Realm Of Flowers is one several winning chances on Saturday, along with Persan and Miami Bound.
“You don’t want horses to make up the numbers,” Jordon said.
“The race is here to stay and we’ll look to build upon the race, it’s a great opportunity for trainers to aim at the race and secure a spot (in the Cup).”
Steel Prince won a thrilling Andrew Ramsden against Surprise Baby in 2019. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Oceanex ran 11th in the Cup last year after qualifying through the Ramsden, while the pulsating 2019 edition produced Steel Prince (ninth) and runner-up Surprise Baby (fifth).
Untapped three-year-old stayers Through Irish Eyes and Salto Angel will tackle the older horses on Saturday.
“Our aim with this race was to restrict it to three, four and five-year-olds because we want to encourage up-and-coming stayers,” Jordon said.
“We want horses on the way up, you got to remember these horses that run in the race will be four, five and six-year-olds in the Cup.”
2019 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien backed the concept.
“Yes it’s got its place for the ‘golden ticket’ aspect but it’s also good to have an option to run good horses at Flemington over ground other than in Melbourne Cup week,” O’Brien said.
“I thought it was a pretty good field, 10 horses, they all deserve their spot in there.
“I would’ve thought the club would be pretty happy with it.”
Originally published asBound for glory: O’Brien bullish on Ramsden hopes
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