Cracking Cox Plate pace the key for Shamrocker

A cracking Cox Plate pace will ensure the AJC Australian Derby winner Shamrocker is primed for the Melbourne Cup, with trainer Danny O'Brien looking forward to Saturday's $3 million feature.

"I want to see her [Shamrocker] run positively, hitting the line," O'Brien said after her excellent gallop at Breakfast with the Best on Tuesday.

"Her only real chance on Saturday is if it is a test of stamina. A few Cox Plates in the last couple of years have been trot and canters, a sprint home, but this year looks more of a test. They are not going to hold Helmet and Glass Harmonium back as they are horses that need to be going along."

Helmet was thrust into Cox Plate favouritism following a record-breaking Caulfield Guineas win on October 9 with New Zealand's best horse, Jimmy Choux, relegated to the second line of betting.

But that changed this week with TAB Sportsbet now offering $3.60 about the two with last year's Victoria Derby winner, Lion Tamer, at $11 just ahead of the Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer at $12.

"Jimmy Choux continues to be well supported," TAB Sportsbet's Glenn Munsie said yesterday.

"From the day Cox Plate betting opened, he is responsible for 25 per cent of all betting on the race and has as much as three times as much invested on him as the ones that are left.

"He did go up $16 behind last year's runners So You Think, Whobegotyou and More Joyous, and none of these three are there."

Shamrocker has yet to win as a four-year-old but O'Brien confirmed "I'm quite happy with my mare" and on Melbourne Cup day assured "she'll be Cherry Ripe".

"When Maldivian won, So You Think won his first Cox Plate. Those horses worse than midfield were never in the hunt," O'Brien said. ''They were cantering to the corner and horses behind didn't change positions; there was not enough speed."

Story by Craig Young, to view full Sydney Morning Herald story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view his Ultimate Racing photos website click here

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