Shamexpress was one of sixty horses entered in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8 after nominations closed today.
Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien is gearing up Shamexpress to defend his title after scoring a stunning win down the Flemington straight last year in the famous sprint.
O’Brien has the four year old ready to barrier trial with the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 his first Melbourne Autumn Carnival target.
“He has been down at Barwon Heads over the summer and has come back this week,” O’Brien told RSN this morning.
“He trials on Friday and he will be first-up the Lightning which is on the 15th of February.
“His major targets will be the two big sprints down the straight; he will run in the Newmarket Handicap three weeks after the Lightning.
“He is very effective at Flemington.”
O’Brien has also entered Adamantium who is a two time winner down the Flemington straight over the Newmarket distance, a win in December 2012 followed by a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Standish Handicap (1200m) two and a half weeks later.
Last year’s runner up Moment Of Change is one of eight sprinters Peter Moody has nominated and the premier trainer is hoping for a change of luck for the five year old.
After going down by a nose to Shamexpress, Moment Of Change has run two fourths, a third and a second at Group 1 level and is ready to resume racing with Moody nominating him for the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Moody sent Moment Of Change for a short break following his trip to Perth where he was beaten a whisker by the in-form Buffering in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 23.
That followed two Group 1 fourths at Moonee Valley in the $450,000 Programmed Moir Stakes (1200m) on September 27 and the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 25 and a third to Buffering in the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9.
Moody’s other Newmarket Handicap entrants include last start Group 3 Standish Handicap winner Flamberge, Group 3 winner Thermal Current, Brilliant Bisc, Dissident, Club Command, Kiss A Rose and Kneeling.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has included multi-million colt Zoustar among his five nominations but the three year old is an unlikely starter with the stable announcing last week that he would be campaigning exclusively in the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
New stable acquisition Group 1 winning Sizzling, improving sprinters Catkins and Arinosa and last start Gold Coast Magic Millions Cup winner Velrosso are also entrants for Waller.
While dual Group 1 winner Samaready is the big name from the Mick Price stable who has also nominated the promising Lankan Rupee and Lion Of Belfort who finished third to Zoustar in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 2.