Surf and Turf for O'Brien


When Danny O'Brien bought his Barwon Heads property five years ago it was with the idea of developing a stallion-making property.

O'Brien had seen how his namesake, Irish maestro Aidan O'Brien, had used his Ballydoyle farm to turn colts into commercial stallions.

"Colts and stallions need a bit more work and more open spaces," Danny O'Brien said.

His vision now is well on the way to being realised.

The Barwon Heads property has produced Star Witness, which now stands at Widden Stud in NSW at a fee of $22,000.

And O'Brien has his next two potential stallions working side by side at Barwon Heads - Cox Plate hero Shamus Award and reigning Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress.

"Having Barwon Heads gives me an edge in making commercial stallions out of my colts," O'Brien said. "It's a big advantage for colts as they need to do more work. Being away from a busy racetrack, they have space with no other horses around. Mentally they are much happier.

"I am hoping to develop a stallion a year from here. Already I've trained three Group 1-winning colts and it's only recently that the property is in full swing."

O'Brien said after Shamus Award won the Cox Plate he had a couple of days off before he started to do work on nearby 13th Beach

"I like to keep them in their routine after spring as there's not a lot of time between spring and autumn. I'm really just freshening him up," O'Brien said.

Shamus Award is worked by Stan Tsaiko at Danny O'Brien's Barwon Heads complex. Picture: Glenn Daniels

Shamus Award is worked by Stan Tsaiko at Danny O'Brien's Barwon Heads complex. Picture: Glenn Daniels Source: News Limited

WHEN Danny O'Brien bought his Barwon Heads property five years ago it was with the idea of developing a stallion-making property.

O'Brien had seen how his namesake, Irish maestro Aidan O'Brien, had used his Ballydoyle farm to turn colts into commercial stallions.

"Colts and stallions need a bit more work and more open spaces," Danny O'Brien said.

His vision now is well on the way to being realised.

The Barwon Heads property has produced Star Witness, which now stands at Widden Stud in NSW at a fee of $22,000.

And O'Brien has his next two potential stallions working side by side at Barwon Heads - Cox Plate hero Shamus Award and reigning Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress.

"Having Barwon Heads gives me an edge in making commercial stallions out of my colts," O'Brien said. "It's a big advantage for colts as they need to do more work. Being away from a busy racetrack, they have space with no other horses around. Mentally they are much happier.

"I am hoping to develop a stallion a year from here. Already I've trained three Group 1-winning colts and it's only recently that the property is in full swing."

O'Brien said after Shamus Award won the Cox Plate he had a couple of days off before he started to do work on nearby 13th Beach

"I like to keep them in their routine after spring as there's not a lot of time between spring and autumn. I'm really just freshening him up," O'Brien said.

Shamus Award (black horse) with Rodney Moore and Shamexpress with Stan Tsaiko. Picture: Glenn Daniels

Shamus Award (black horse) with Rodney Moore and Shamexpress with Stan Tsaiko. Picture: Glenn Daniels Source: News Limited

With Shamus Award he intends to follow the blueprint set by the Hawkes team with its top three-year-old All Too Hard last autumn, by winning the Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes.

The plan is for Shamus Award to then run in the Australian Guineas, a race All Too Hard missed due to illness.

O'Brien is hoping Shamus Award can prove his Cox Plate win was no fluke.

"He had little luck before (the Cox Plate) and could have gone into the race having won the Stutt Stakes and the Caulfield Guineas," he said.

"It would be great if he can string a couple of Group 1s together and if he did that he could emerge as a horse of the year contender, which would increase his value again."

As would a second Cox Plate, which is in the longer-term planning.

O'Brien is hoping Shamexpress can snatch the Sprinter of the Year award from Buffering.

O'Brien only has to look at Shamexpress's most recent start, an unlucky second to Buffering in the VRC Sprint Classic, to know he can beat him.

Shamexpress will return in the Lightning Stakes and then look to the Newmarket before heading to Sydney for the T.J. Smith Stakes

"They are the races which decide that award. if he can perform well in them he'll be right in the mix as it is generally stronger sprint form."

Shamus Award and Shamexpress will return to O'Brien's Flemington stables from Barwon Heads a couple of weeks before they are due to race.

Story by Michael Manley, to view full Geelong Advertiser story click here

Photo by Glenn Daniels

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