O'Brien has faith in crack colt

Not too often has Black Caviar been challenged in her outstanding career, but trainer Danny O'Brien remembers the moment when he though one of his charges "just might" in a Group 1 feature.

The moment was in the 2010 Patinack Stakes when O'Brien's dual Group 1 winning three-year-old colt, Star Witness, eased off her heels and closed to within three-quarters of a length at the 400m only for jockey Ben Melham to set the wonder mare alight.

"It was a thrilling moment when we though he might test her out, but she was too good in the end, like she has proved at everyone of her 22 starts," O'Brien said.

O'Brien pointed out there was no shame in running second to the superstar mare and the 13-time Group 1 winning trainer has another crack three-year-old colt, Shamexpress, that he is looking to test against the best that there is in this Saturday's Lightning Stakes.

But by no means is O'Brien thinking anything other than giving his horse the perfect lead-up to his Autumn target - the Newmarket Handicap.

"We can't beat Black Caviar, but history tells is that the Lightning Stakes has traditionally been the best lead-up form for the Newmarket so we won't be dodging her," O'Brien said.

"He wouldn't lose any friends by running second to her in a Group 1 and that would still look pretty good on his pedigree page."

Shamexpress, by gun New Zealand sire O'Reilly, has shown he is above average in his career so far having won down the straight on debut and placing third in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes.

"His win at the Valley first-up this campaign was excellent and he ran a class record and only a tick outside Miss Andretti's track record, which was a fair effort carrying 60kgs fresh," O'Brien said.

"He has improved physically since and we couldn't be happier with him. We are confident that he will run a big race on Saturday."

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix's website click here


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