O’Brien and Kavanagh to meet in VRC Oaks


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On Thursday they meet with the two Oaks favourites, having both now won the Melbourne Cup a decade apart with Vow And Declare and Shocking in 2009.

“Whichever way it goes tomorrow, I hope it is one of us,” O’Brien said.

Although the two fought out the finish of the Wakeful Stakes – normally a good guide to the Oaks – they will face stiff opposition from a number of horses including the Mitch Freedman-trained Moonlight Maid and the Archie Alexander-trained Gamay.

By sheer coincidence those two Ballarat-based trainers have also faced investigations relating to the alleged presence of cobalt in their horses within the past 12 months.

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O’Brien spoke in their defence on Tuesday, moments after winning Australia’s iconic race.

“I still think the issue today is a really troublesome one,” O’Brien said.

“We have got Mitch Freedman, Archie Alexander, Steven Pateman – they are the next generation of trainers in Victoria and they have all got cobalt charges.

“It’s something that needs to be tackled.”

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The Age reported in September that Racing Australia has tasked its veterinary advisory committee with providing fresh analysis on the performance-enhancing qualities of cobalt, with a report due to be presented at Racing Australia’s November 12 board meeting.

However O’Brien can head to the Oaks without the spectre hanging over his head, a live chance to win the race with Miami Bound.

“We’re hopeful. We’re going in there with a filly that has had a really good preparation for it,” he said.

“She [has been] preparing for this all spring and her run on Saturday was terrific in the Wakeful.”

O’Brien said the three-year-old had recovered superbly from the run on Victoria Derby day and he was confident she would get the 2500 metres.

“She is a very tough filly too and she has pulled up really, really well, so she is going to go to the races tomorrow [Thursday] with no excuses,” he said.

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