Shamus gearing up for Guineas

Sportingbet Cox Plate winner Shamus Award has commenced his build up towards the Australian Guineas.

The valuable colt recently began work at trainer Danny O’Brien’s Barwon Heads property and the Flemington trainer has been taken with the way he looks.

“He’s loving life,” O’Brien said. “He’s been doing a bit down at Thirteenth Beach and he looks great.

“He’ll stay out at Barwon Heads until just after Christmas and then he’ll come back here and he’ll be getting ready for the autumn.”

O’Brien confirmed the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), at Flemington on 1 March, was his primary focus with the son of Snitzel, who registered his first win in the $3 million Cox Plate on October 26.

“The Australian Guineas would be his main target for the autumn,” O’Brien said. “He’ll probably have one or two runs (leading into it).”

Shamus Award will become the first Cox Plate winner to win the Australian Guineas, which was first run in 1986, if successful.

He is not the only horse O’Brien has high hopes for in Victoria’s Group 1 events in late summer, early autumn.

The trainer reported that Shamexpress had thrived since his unlucky second to Buffering in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on 9 November and he would be set for the two Group 1 races up the straight – the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

“They’re the two big sprint races and they’re both down the straight, which is good for him,” he said.

Shamexpress finished sixth behind Black Caviar in last year’s Lightning before winning the Newmarket Handicap.

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

Photo by Bronwen Healy, to view Bronwen's website click here

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