Shamus Award is on a mission to live up to his Cox Plate win when he begins his Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Danny O’Brien trained three year old became the first maiden galloper to win the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last October and the Flemington trainer is confident that Shamus Award will continue on a winning note during the Autumn.
“I thought his win in the Cox Plate was exceptional,” O’Brien told the Sportsman.
“It is up to him now to prove in the Autumn that it was an exceptional win and we are hoping he can do that.”
“Naturally a Cox Plate is a great race for a three year old colt to win but it’d be even better if he can win the Australian Guineas and the Orr on the way through.”
The Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) is run at Flemington in three weeks and O’Brien will make a decision after the C.F. Orr Stakes if Shamus Award will have another run before lining up against the three year olds in the Australian Guineas.
A run in the Group 1 $500,000 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 could be an option if O’Brien thinks the three year old needs another solid hit out.
The Flemington trainer said that he has Shamus Award in the best condition he could have him at this stage of his campaign and will offer no excuses if the Snitzel colt does run up to best.
“We have no excuses at all, he really couldn’t be better and has matured into a lovely Autumn three year old and we expect a good campaign,” O’Brien said.
“He runs his best races when he takes a position and I am sure in a weight for age 1400m race he will be in the first two or three.”
O’Brien has given a glowing report about Shamus Award since he arrived back at his Flemington stables a few weeks ago after kicking off the early stages of his preparation on O’Brien’s Barwon Heads property.
“He’s done most of his preparation there and laid down a lot of ground-work,” O’Brien said.
“We can gallop on the grass every day of the week, we can take him to the beach the next day after the gallop and it is a huge advantage particularly with the colts.”
“He’s come down to Flemington and has trialled the last two Fridays so we are going in there having had a perfect preparations for 1400m.”
Shamus Award is having his first run since winning the Cox Plate and is currently on the second line of betting for C.F. Orr Stakes at $3.20 behind $2.40 favourite Moment Of Change who is ready to redeem himself after a first up defeat as the odds on favourite when second to Richie’s Vibe in the Group 2 $220,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24.
The Bart and James Cummings trained Eurozone is next in the betting at $6 in the small field of six with Hawkspur at $8, the shortest of Chris Waller’s two runners, with stablemate Foreteller marked at $15.