Champion filly heads to the breeding barn

Top trainer Danny O'Brien has paid tribute to Shamrocker in the wake of the former history-making filly's retirement.

The daughter of O'Reilly last year entered uncharted territory when she won the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick after also defeating the boys in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.

These feats earned her the Champion Filly title at the Australian Horse of the Year Awards for the 2010/11 Season.

“She created history,” O'Brien said. “She was the only filly to win the Australian Guineas and the AJC Derby – Miss Finland tried to do it and Triscay tried to do, but Shamrocker was the first filly to ever do it – so she'll always have a special place to me.”

O'Brien, in consultation with owners, made the decision to abandon the five-year-old's racing career following a below-par jumpout at Flemington on August 3.

Shamrocker was given a lengthy spell after disappointing third-last in last year's Emirates Melbourne Cup, which rounded out a forgettable spring campaign, and despite not racing in autumn O'Brien said the jumpout highlighted that she had failed to come up.

“We gave her a long break to get over her issues, but even with that and a nice searching prep this time in, when we put her under pressure we don't think she'd fully shaken everything off,” O'Brien said.

“She's a two-time Group 1 winner, so unless she could come back to her absolute top and win another Group 1 there's not much point pushing her as a racehorse when she's already got the record she has.

“With that in mind, it's the right time of the year to be making this decision and she's got her future in front of her in the breeding shed.”

Shamrocker, who retires with a record of 18 starts for four wins and four minor placings and $1,975,888 in stakes, will be served by boom sire Fastnet Rock.

In addition to the Australian Guineas and Australian Derby, Shamrocker won the Group 2 VRC Sires' Produce Stakes as a two-year-old and filled Group 1 placings in both the VRC Crown Oaks and ATC Oaks, along with the Rosehill Guineas, at three.

While disappointed at losing Shamrocker on the eve of the Spring Racing Carnival, O'Brien and most of the team that race Shamrocker still have a contender for feature-race glory with promising staying colt Shamexpress on the AAMI Victoria Derby trail.

Also by O'Reilly, Shamexpress has been nominated for the $120,000 Listed Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield this Saturday, but O'Brien is favouring giving him a jumpout at Flemington this Friday before a first-up start in the Group 3 $150,000 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 1 September.

Story by Brad Bishop, to view full on Racing Victoria website click here

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