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Irish stayer to relish O’Brien master plan

The Cliffsofmoher.
The Cliffsofmoher will bid to become Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s first Caulfield Cup winner.

A Caulfield Cup blueprint established in defeat 12 months ago will be used in Irish training maestro Aidan O’Brien’s bid to win the $5 million race for the first time.

O’Brien came close to landing the first leg of Australia’s famous Cups double last year when Johannes Vermeer ran third to outsider Boom Time.

That placing followed the stayer’s eye-catching Australian debut at weight-for-age seven days earlier when runner-up in the Caulfield Stakes.

The Ballydoyle trainer has put The Cliffsofmoher on an identical path with last year’s English Derby placegetter making late ground in last week’s Caulfield Stakes.

Caulfield Cup bookmakers saw enough merit in the fourth placing to elevate The Cliffsofmoher to the third line betting at $7 behind Kings Will Dream ($5) and Youngstar ($6).

And O’Brien’s right-hand man TJ Comerford is confident The Cliffsofmoher has the credentials to win, saying the entire emerged from the Caulfield Stakes in a similar manner to Johannes Vermeer.

“I don’t know if he’ll win, but I would say he will go close,” Comerford said.

“He has come out of the race well and he is showing all the signs every day that he has freshened up as well.”

Comerford is delighted with barrier three for The Cliffsofmoher, saying the inside stall will allow Hugh Bowman to ride the stayer wherever he wants.

“At least from that barrier he will be able to save a bit of ground,” Comerford said.

O’Brien has been one of the pre-eminent trainers in world racing and led in a record 28 Group One winners in 2017.

But his success in Australian Group One races has been limited to Adelaide’s victory in the 2014 Cox Plate.

Comerford said going into the race with the third betting pick took some the pressure off the all-conquering stable.

“I suppose we are not expected to win, we are expected to run well, so if we win it’s a bonus,” he said.

“But overall I’m more confident than last year.”

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has been travelling to Melbourne for 20 years and is chasing a second Caulfield Cup, having won with All The Good a decade ago.

Bin Suroor said Best Solution ($15) compared favourably with his 2008 winner.

“All The Good was a nice horse. This one, his form is very good too,” bin Suroor said.

“He’s a proven horse and we thought he was the right horse to send here as he’s twice a Group One winner.

“He’s a strong horse, a class horse and I’m happy with him.

“I’m hopeful there’s no excuses in the race for him.”

Bin Suroor said Best Solution was likely to push forward from his wide barrier to take up a position in the leading division.

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