Shamrocker The Cox Plate Sleeping Giant



Shamrocker is another of the forgotten horses to a degree in the 2011 Cox Plate with the dual Group 1 winning mare perhaps overlooked on the back of her recent form.

So far this spring she ran 8th in the Memsie Stakes before a complete bomb out in the Underwood Stakes where she tailed off in second last.

At that stage it looked as if there could be some serious problems going forward but she managed to improve somewhat when running a fast finishing 7th in the Turnbull Stakes last start.

Still though there’s a heap of horses favoured above her in the Cox Plate and probably deservedly so given the form they bring into the race.

Shamrocker has shown in the past though she’s not one to dismiss completely, most notably when she won her first Group 1 in the Australian Guineas.

She paid $31 that day before returning two starts later to win the Australian Derby at much shorter odds around $5.

Her ability to perform on the big stage is what excites trainer Danny O’Brien and he expects his horse to be at her best come Saturday.

“We’ve been very pleased with her since her run in the Turnbull,” he said.

“Steven Arnold thought she handled the track there at Moonee Valley very well.”

He says she was never expected to be at her best in the lead up races but the Cox Plate will be her time to fire.

“She’s going in the best she’s been all spring and that’s where we want her to be,” he said.

“She put in a shocker in the Underwood…her and Glen just didn’t seem to gel that day.

“When she came up for the Turnbull her run that day was excellent.”

While the Cox Plate is a race they’re certainly aiming to win O’Brien admits they do have one eye on the Melbourne Cup as well.

“Expecting to see a top run from her on Saturday then we’ve got nine days until the Cup,” he said.

O’Brien isn’t anticipating any issues at Moonee Valley despite the fact she’s a horse that likes to get back in the field.

“Even though it’s not a big track big track horses seem to run well,” he said.

“If we drew wide we’d probably be presented with a scenario going right back to last.

“From barrier one we can probably lob mid field.”

The one thing she does need though is early in the race with a battle between Glass Harmonium and Helmet the order of the day.

“Hoping there is genuine tempo…if they really poor on the pressure then don’t be surprised to see her running on late,” he said.

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