Big race jockey Craig Williams has declared that Cox Plate winner Shamus Award is back to his best as he prepares to line up in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Shamus Award became the first maiden galloper to win the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last Spring and Williams says the three year olds feels in the same order now as he did then.
Even though Williams didn’t ride the Danny O’Brien trained colt to his historic Cox Plate victory, apprentice Chad Schofield took the honours, the top Melbourne jockey had done a lot of lead up work with the Snitzel colt including three rides for two seconds prior to the Cox Plate.
And Williams, who will be back aboard Shamus Award on Saturday, indicated that the colt felt just as good as he did in the Spring when he galloped at Moonee Valley last Friday night and also had a feel of him during the week at Flemington track work.
“I sat on him on Wednesday on the middle of the track on the course proper and he was quite relaxed and very smooth in his action,” Williams told Racing Network.
“He feels he’s in the same order that he was in the spring and that gives me great confidence.
“I’m happy with the way he’s doing his work and his attitude. He knows that he’s good and he shows that in his character.”
Shamus Award with Williams in the saddle finished third at his one run back from a break behind Moment Of Change and Eurozone in the Group 1 weight for age $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 8.
O’Brien can see the drop back to three year old company and the step up to 1600m as definite advantages for Shamus Award with the Flemington trainer also giving a good report from the stable.
“The main thing is he’s really well. He pulled up out of his Orr run really well, he worked strongly on Friday night at Moonee Valley and he gets out to 1600 metres, which is a fair more suitable distance,” O’Brien said.
Adelaide three year old Hucklebuck has been installed the $3.80 favourite for the Australian Guineas at Ladbrokes.com.au following his last start win in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 15.
The Bart and James Cummings trained Eurozone is the second pick at $4.20 with Shamus Award marked as a $5 chance.