All aboard the Shamexpress

Shamexpress is striving to follow in stablemate Shamrocker’s footsteps on Super Saturday.

When Danny O'Brien purchased Shamrocker from the 2009 Karaka Select Yearling Sale in New Zealand, he didn't do so with a view to winning the VRC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m).

But the daughter of O'Reilly, who cost NZ$65,000, surprised him with a win in the following year's edition of the race that this year celebrates its 150th birthday.

The Flemington trainer is hoping to pull off a similar achievement tomorrow when another Kiwi-bred O'Reilly youngster with “Sham” in its name contests the Henry Bucks-sponsored $250,000 event.

Shamexpress has the job of completing an O'Brien Sires' hat-trick in one of the key support races on the cracking ‘Super Saturday' program.

“They're both similar styles of O'Reillys in that I bought them at the sales as staying prospects, but they have both been able to win races as two-year-olds,” O'Brien said of Shamexpress, who is owned in similar interests to Shamrocker.

“Obviously Shamrocker went on and proved that she was a top-line stayer when she won the Derby in Sydney and we'd love to think that this bloke could go on the same path.

“He's a horse that we're hoping, come the spring, will step out to a mile and maybe even the Derby at a mile-and-a-half, so the 1400 metres of the Sires was always going to be a race that'd be very suitable for him at this stage of career.”

The colt, who cost $130,000, has the job of maintaining O'Brien's affinity with what is Victoria's only Group 2 race for the babies. After winning with Shamrocker, O'Brien also provided the quinella in last year's edition with Running Tall and Decircles.

Following Shamexpress's four-length debut win up the Flemington straight O'Brien nominated him as his Sires' horse and he rounded out preparations with a fine second to Sires' rival Pronto Pronto at Sportingbet Park (Sandown) on 29 February.

“He probably needed that run,” O'Brien said. “He hadn't raced for six-and-a-half weeks and he was a little bit in need of the run.

“It was part of the plan to have him at his top for the Sires' that he raced there and his run was excellent. He's tightened up really well from it and he'll be at his top there tomorrow.”

Shamexpress occupies TAB Sportsbet's $6.50 third line in a market headed by Black Caviar's half-brother All Too Hard ($3.40) with Blue Diamond fourth placegetter Jimando at $5.50. Pronto Pronto rounds out the leading contenders at $7 chance.

But Shamexpress is not what the trainer considers his best hope for the day with Shopaholic to pursue four straight wins in the other 1400m Group 2 on the bumper card – the $300,000 TAB Sportsbet Kewney Stakes.

“I think Shopaholic will be pretty hard to beat,” he said. “She's been very good this autumn and this is a similar group of fillies to the ones that she's been beating in The Vanity and the Angus Armanasco.

“The form around her starts this autumn has been very strong and can't see any reason why she can't win again tomorrow.”

O'Brien's only other runners for the day are Fashion Black in the $150,000 Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) and Eraset in the $100,000 Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m), which is the final race on the nine-event program.

Story by Racing Victoria Limited, to view full story click here

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

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