A Cox Plate rematch has been guaranteed with trainer Danny O’Brien confirming that Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award will back up in the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Shamus Award and Gai Waterhouse’s topliner Fiornete are set to clash again on Saturday after the pair met in last year’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
On that occasion Shamus Award created history by becoming the first maiden galloper to win the weight for age championship of Australasia with a dynamic ride from Chad Schofield to lead all of the way.
Fiorente also ran a mighty race to claim third spot, with Happy Trails splitting the pair, before going on to win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
The O’Brien trained three year will again be taking on the older horses at weight for age with Fiorente going into the Australian Cup after a first up win in the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22.
“We are 1-0 up and it will be great for racing to see how they go in the rematch,’’ O’Brien told TVN.
O’Brien has reported that Shamus Award has pulled up well after his winning front running display in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday and it had always been the plan to back up in the Australian Cup.
“He’s pulled up really well,” O’Brien said.
“He was a bit on the fresh side yesterday and the programming was always there to back up within the seven days.
“I can’t see any reason why he won’t be there next Saturday.”
After Saturday Shamus Award will head to Sydney for the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 29 before facing off with Fiorente again in the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.
“Shamus Award will go to Sydney for the Rosehill Guineas and then the Queen Elizabeth Stakes,’’ O’Brien said.
“Two thousand metres is right in his sweet spot and the Rosehill Guineas is ideal to see how he goes the Sydney direction.”
“After The Championships at Randwick, Shamus Award will go for a spell as we are very keen on trying to win a second Cox Plate with him.”
O’Brien has his eye on a second Cox Plate win and would love to see Shamus Award’s name beside world renowned So You Think who claimed his second Cox Plate trophy as a four year old in the 2010 when trained by Cups King Bart Cummings.
Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente currently heads the Australian Cup market order with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2 with Shamus Award the second pick at $4.80.
The Chris Waller trained Foreteller and Australian Guineas third placegetter Thunder Fantasy share the next line of betting at $8 with Green Moon marked as a $10 chance.