Trainer Danny O’Brien has high expectations for his restricted class three year old Shamexpress as he kicks off his Autumn Carnival campaign in the $80,000 Chandler Macleod Premium Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley tonight.
Shampexpress showed that he could mix it in Group 1 company when third to Nechita in the $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 3.
And a win tonight would give O’Brien confidence to push onto a start in either or both the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) on February 16 or the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 9, both at Flemington.
“He’s got to get started and his rating isn’t very high because he’s only won one race,” O’Brien said.
“We need him to start winning to get his rating up to get him into perhaps the Lightning and the Newmarket.”
At this stage of his career O’Brien rates Shamexpress below his former smart sprinter Star Witness who took out the 2010 Coolmore Stud Stakes but is banking on the three year old showing drastic improvement this preparation.
“He doesn’t have the strong two year old form that Star Witness did, he won the Coolmore and this bloke ran third so he is catching up to him. Hopefully he can keep improving and be around the mark as a three year old.”
Premiership leader Glen Boss has picked up the ride on Shampexress who is the short priced $2.25 favourite in the Chandler Macleod Premium Handicap tonight.
The Robert Smerdon trained Day Procedure is also well fancied at $3.50 and expected to race well after finishing third at Caulfield over 1100m at his second run from a spell.
Peter Moody’s three year old Flamberge is resuming after winning two races in his two year old year and is on the third line of betting at $5 in the small six horse field.