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Relaxed Lycurges takes out Galilee final

Learning to relax over a staying distance has seen Lycurgus win a stakes race at Caulfield.

Lycurgus won the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) on Saturday and now trainer Danny O’Brien is eyeing races over a longer journey.

The three-year-old is bred on sprinting lines, being by Star Witness from the Testa Rossa mare Geblitzt, but the gelding has relished being stepped up in journey.

O’Brien said the VRC St Leger Stakes at Flemington on April 25 and a possible trip to Adelaide for next month’s South Australian Derby (2500m) await Lycurgus.

Ridden a patient race by Daniel Moor, Lycurgus ($19) scored by a length from Miss Strathallan ($4) with Parthesia ($14) the same margin away third.

O’Brien was confident Lycurgus would eventually stay, once he improved his racing manner.

“It’s been a little bit tricky getting his manners right at the races,” O’Brien said.

“Boris Thornton, our apprentice, has done a lot of work on him down at Barwon heads.

“He rides him everyday. He won on him two starts ago at Kyneton and got him to settle that day.

“That was the secret with him today. He was doing no work and was relaxed and he’s a horse that can really let go go when he does.”

O’Brien said Lycurges was not among the top echelon of three-year-old stayers and hopes the gelding can develop like stablemate De Little Engine.

De Little Engine ran second in the Galilee Series Final in 2014 before going on to finish fifth in the St Leger.

“He’s been a good solid stayer for us over the last couple of seasons and that’s the sort of profile for most of these horses,” O’Brien said.

“They’re the second tier of staying three-year-olds but if you can run a mile and a half you can earn a lot of prize money.”

Moor was impressed with the victory of Lycurgus adding the gelding still did a few things wrong during the race.

“He could still switch off a bit better,” Moor said.

“There were places where he wanted to get up on the steel when the pace slackened but he might be right now after that run at the trip.”

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