Vow And Declare

Vow And Declare with Danny O'Brien and his wife Nina, son Tommy and daughter Grace (Image: Racing Photos)

O'Brien Vows to defend Cup

Fewer than 24 hours after he reclaimed the Lexus Melbourne Cup for Australia, Danny O'Brien was already talking about Vow And Declare's bid to defend his crown next year.

The Flemington horseman offered a glowing report on the four-year-old's recovery from Tuesday's two-mile staying test and confirmed the gelding would spend several easy weeks at his Barwon Heads property.

While a cameo autumn campaign could include the Tancred Stakes and Sydney Cup, O'Brien said Vow And Declare's main aim next year would be the 2020 Melbourne Cup.

"He's had a light spring, he's only raced three times so it's not like he's had a long, grueling preparation," O'Brien said.

"He'll probably head down to our Barwon Heads beach property this afternoon and we'll give him a week or two just on the beach, maybe out in the paddocks during the day.

"The thing with him is we would love to run him in 3200-metre races or beyond and the only targets for him here is potentially the Sydney Cup and next year's Lexus Melbourne Cup.

"The most likely thing for him is that he comes back and has another go at it.

"He's only just turned four and he'll be a better horse next spring and he'll need to be because he'll have to carry more weight."

And O'Brien could add Thursday's Kennedy Oaks to what has already been an amazing week at Flemington.

He saddles up Reliable Man filly Miami Bound, who shot to $3.60 favourite in the market after victory in last Saturday's Group 2 Wakeful Stakes.

"We're going in there with a filly that's had a really good preparation for it and the run on Saturday was terrific in the Wakeful," he said.

"She's a very tough filly and she pulled up very well so she's going to go to the races tomorrow with no excuses.

"I've got Damien Oliver in charge tomorrow, I had Craig Williams yesterday, so ultimately they'll be the ones to decide but I'm sure he (Oliver) will attempt to ride her in a similar fashion to what he did in the Wakeful."