O’Brien to give Cup winner a winter break

vow and declare
Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare will go for a break after a second disappointing performance.

Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare is heading for a break after disappointing trainer Danny O’Brien at Flemington.

Vow And Declare finished fifth in Saturday’s William Newton VC Handicap (2600m), a little over four lengths from the winner Haky.

O’Brien dismissed suggestions Vow And Declare had not come up this campaign after two disappointing performances.

Vow And Declare returned from his Melbourne Cup success for third in the Australian Cup at Flemington last month before running ninth to Addeybb in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 11 ahead of Saturday’s race.

“His Australian Cup rating was his best-ever rating, so you couldn’t say he hasn’t come up in the autumn,” O’Brien said.

“But he’s been below-par at his past two runs.

“Most of these things, whatever they might be, are generally solved by a little break.”

With Brisbane ruled out after planned races were scrapped in the coronavirus impacted reshape of the carnival, O’Brien took Vow And Declare home to Melbourne for Saturday’s race ahead of the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington on May 16.

But following Saturday’s disappointment, O’Brien will give Vow And Declare a six to eight week break before again starting the build-up towards the Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.

He said Vow And Declare had trotted up fine on Sunday morning.

“When there’s nothing obvious, you can try scintigraphy, you can try a whole range of things, but usually the best thing is give them a six or eight week break,” O’Brien said.

“You can speculate and diagnose as much as you want, but in the end a break is usually the best option.”

O’Brien said Vow And Declare’s likely return would be the same as last year, the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in October.

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