Trainer Danny O’Brien has Cox Plate winner Shamus Award primed to win first up in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
O’Brien was feeling very positive after Shamus Award won a jump out at Flemington last Friday and said that the three year old will be fit enough to run out the 1400m at his first run back since winning the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in the Spring.
“He’s there to win. It’s a Group One race,” O’Brien told AAP.
“He’s not using it as a warm-up. He’s ready to win. He’ll improve obviously going forward but we won’t be making any excuses for him.”
“He’s a colt going first-up into a 1400 metre race and he’s an on-speed horse.”
“If you are going to be running on in a 1400 metre race you could probably have them a little bit underdone. But when you are going to be on the bunny, you are going to have to be reasonably close to your top.”
Big race jockey Craig Williams takes over from apprentice Chad Schofield who rode Shamus Award to an historical all the way win in the Cox Plate and got a good feel of the Snitzel colt in last week’s jump out.
A win in the C.F. Orr Stakes would put Shamus Award’s name alongside that of the great Saintly and Maldivian who both won the 1400m weight for age race at their next run after winning the Cox Plate.
O’Brien will decide after the C.F. Orr Stakes if the three year old will need another run before heading to the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
“He’s definitely going to the Australian Guineas, we’ll decide after the Orr whether he needs another run,” O’Brien said.
“If he does run again the logical race would be the Futurity.”
The Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) is also run at Caulfield two weeks after the C.F. Orr Stakes but is only one week out from the Australian Guineas.
The Melbourne Racing Club has extended nominations for the C.F. Orr Stakes until 10AM on Tuesday after Shamus Award was one of only ten horses entered this morning.
Sydney premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has nominated dual Group 1 winner Foreteller, Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur and new stable acquisition Sizzling who is also nominated for the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Three year old Eurozone is also a dual entry with Bart and James Cummings also nominating the Northern Meteor colt for the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m).
Peter Moody has nominated Moment Of Change who was beaten first up in the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24.
While Cranbourne trainer Robbie Laing has entered Victoria Derby winner Polanski in two races with a preference to running in the C.F. Orr Stakes and not against his own age in the Autumn Stakes.