Can Shamrocker upstage the boys once again?

Shamrocker was one of the spruik three-year-olds of the autumn and Danny O’Brien’s classy daughter of O’Reilly upset the boys in both the Australian Guineas and Australian Derby, but the question remains can she return to form and win the 2011 Cox Plate on Saturday?

The now four-year-old Shamrocker enjoyed a stunning opening two seasons in the track, running a Group 1 second in the Crown Oaks last spring before her incredible autumn campaign where she scored dual elite level victories in open company taking out the Australian Guineas–Australian Derby double.

She also ran a game third to fellow Cox Plate rival on Saturday Jimmy Choux in the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m in between her Group 1 victories, and finished off last season with a second to Absolutely on a Heavy (10) Randwick track in the AJC Oaks over 2400m.

After resuming with an eighth to the Peter Moody-trained King’s Rose, another runner in Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m), on August 27 in the Memsie Stakes (1400m), she put in an out of character poor run when beaten by 15 lengths in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), won by Lion Tamer, at Caulfield on September 17.

Her last run was much improved where finish strongly behind in seventh behind December Draw in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.

O’Brien is confident that Cox Plate Day will be the day Shamrocker gets back to racing the way he knows she can.

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

“Steven Arnold (jockey) thought she handled the track there at Moonee Valley very well (in a gallop on Tuesday).

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

Shamrocker – Horse Profile
•Jockey: Steven Arnold •Trainer: Danny O’Brien
•Owners: Mr J R Dimery, Raffles Farm, Mr K J Woolley, Mr A J Smith, Mr C P Wylie, Mr J C Hitt, Mr R J Callister, Mr S S Larkey
•Age/Gender: 4YO Mare
•Breeding: by O’Reilly (NZ) from Blues Traveller (IRE) mare Bohemian Blues (NZ)
•Career: 16:4-2-2
•Prize Money: $1,975,888
•Track: 0-0-0-0 •Distance: 3-0-0-1
•Current Cox Plate Odds: $51

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Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website Ultimate Racing Photos click here

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