Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien will saddle his first Australian runner away from Flemington when Downdraft runs at The Valley.
O’Brien won the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling and also saddled US Army Ranger in that race.
He returned last year with Latrobe who ran second to Trap For Fools in the Mackinnon Stakes.
The horse has the Lloyd Williams-owned Master Of Reality, Latrobe and Twilight Payment as stable companions at the Werribee quarantine centre.
O’Brien’s previous three runners in Melbourne were all part-owned by Williams while Downdraft’s co-owners are well-known Australian ownership group, OTI Racing.
OTI has brought out a number of spring hopefuls this year.
Two of their 2019 Melbourne Cup contenders, also based at Werribee, True Self and Haky, finished second and third respectively behind Prince Of Arran in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup.
OTI director Terry Henderson said reports on Downdraft ahead of the Moonee Valley Cup had been promising.
“I have the same expectations before the race that I had before the Geelong Cup. I think we can win it,” Henderson said.
“I thought we could win the Geelong Cup with True Self and I think Downdraft will be equally as competitive.
“The reports out of the stable have been very good since he arrived here.”
Downdraft won at Down Royal on July 26 then booked a trip to Melbourne when second, splitting Cup hopefuls Southern France and Master Of Reality, in the Irish St Leger Trial at The Curragh in August.
John Allen, who has forged a successful association with OTI Racing, rides Downdraft on Saturday.
Downdraft is currently 35th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au