O’Brien fancies his chances with Banquo

Danny O’Brien has a penchant for ignoring inexperience and trusting untapped talents in Group 1 contests and hopes Banquo can continue the trend in Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.

The three-year-old will be having just his ninth start when he challenges more seasoned rivals in Victoria’s premier sprint.

Having delivered Cox Plate victory with Shamus Award, a maiden having just his sixth start, and Melbourne Cup triumph with Vow And Declare at only his 12th appearance, O’Brien is well accustomed to chancing his arm.

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Banquo will wear blinkers in the Newmarket Handicap. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

He’s backing Banquo to post a new benchmark at the weekend.

“He’s a three-year-old that’s the most lightly raced (eight starts) in the field (along with Libertini), so we think he might have the most upside of them all,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve put blinkers on him.

“His full sister Booker won an Oakleigh Plate. He’s got the talent to be competitive because he’s the least exposed runner in the field and we think he’s still got improvement in him.”

O’Brien resisted the temptation to tackle Alligator Blood in the Australian Guineas (1600m) after a narrow second in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) behind Microphone.

“He’s had a four-week break off his last run and we just didn’t think the step to the mile of the Australian Guineas was going to suit him,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve put blinkers on him and we think he’s going to run really well.”

James Cummings couldn’t be happier with Bivouac heading into the Newmarket Handicap. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

James Cummings is confident that Bivouac can put his disappointing run in the Oakleigh Plate behind him and bounce back in the Newmarket Handicap.

“Hopefully he can camp a bit closer to the lead than he did in the Oakleigh Plate,” Cummings said. “This is the premier handicap sprint in the country, after the Oakleigh Plate he’s got a bit to prove, his work on Tuesday had some electricity about it.”

“He’s coiled up, tuned up, wound up and ready to show what a brilliant colt he is.”

Originally published asO’Brien fancies his chances with Banquo

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