Shamrocker was one of the spruik three-year-olds of the autumn, Danny O’Brien’s classy daughter of O’Reilly upsetting the boys in both the Australian Guineas and Australian Derby, but can she return to form and bounce back from her disappointing spring so far and win the 2011 Cox Plate on Saturday?
The now four-year-old Shamrocker enjoyed a stunning opening two seasons in the track, running a Group 1 second in the Crown Oaks last spring before her incredible autumn campaign where she scored dual elite level victories in open company taking out the Australian Guineas – Australian Derby double.
She also ran a game third to fellow Cox Plate rival on Saturday Jimmy Choux in the Rosehill Guineas over 2000 metres in between her Group 1 victories, and finished off last season with a second to Absolutely on a Heavy (10) Randwick track in the AJC Oaks over 2400m.
What happened between then and now with Shamrocker is a question O’Brien has been scratching his head over as his mare has failed to produce in her three spring runs to date.
After resuming with an eighth to the Peter Moody-trained King’s Rose, another runner in Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m), on August 27 in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) things only got worse for Shamrocker.
She was thrashed by 15 lengths when beating home just one other runner in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), won by Lion Tamer, at Caulfield on September 17 and was last seen finishing five lengths away seventh to December Draw in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.
Still, O’Brien remains hopeful that Cox Plate Day will be the day Shamrocker gets back to racing the way he knows she can.
“We’ve been very pleased with her since her run in the Turnbull,” he said.
“Steven Arnold (jockey) thought she handled the track there at Moonee Valley very well (in a gallop on Tuesday).
“She’s going in the best she’s been all spring and that’s where we want her to be.”
From a mare with such a stunning record to a forgotten Cox Plate contender, Shamrocker a $41 roughie in the markets for Saturday at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet, the Races.com.au team take a look at the evidence for and against O’Brien’s dual Group 1 winner adding a third thoroughbred major to her record this weekend.
#10 Shamrocker – Horse Profile
- Jockey: Steven Arnold
- Trainer: Danny O’Brien
- Owners: Mr J R Dimery, Raffles Farm, Mr K J Woolley, Mr A J Smith, Mr C P Wylei, Mr J C Hitt, Mr R J Callister, Mr S S Larkey
- Age: 4YO
- Gender: Mare
- Breeding: by O’Reilly (NZ) from Blues Traveller (IRE) mare Bohemian Blues (NZ)
- Career: 16:4-2-2
- Prize Money: $1,975,888
- Track: 0-0-0-0
- Distance: 3-0-0-1
- Current Cox Plate Odds: $41 Luxbet
Yes Shamrocker Can Return to Form and Win the Cox Plate 2011
- She has earned nearly $2 million in career prize money which is no easy feat
- O’Brien got to select barrier one for her in the Cox Plate draw, where she is expected to settle mid field
- Has Steven Arnold in the mount who saluted aboard So You Think in last year’s Cox Plate
- Is well-weighted on 55.5kg, the lightest weight she has seen since her Derby win back in April
- Although she hasn’t won as a four-year-old, this is the right age to take out the Cox Plate with 4YO’s boasting the best record in the race with 26 wins since its inception
No Shamrocker Cannot Return to Form and Win the Cox Plate 2011
- Hasn’t been under race conditions at Moonee Valley before
- Comes off terrible spring form and hasn’t finished better than seventh in her three lead-up runs
- Only has a fair Win Rate of 25%, which is the third worst of the field
- Better suited to more distance – like the 3200m of the 2011 Melbourne Cup – and from three runs over 2000m has only recorded one place when third to Jimmy Choux in the Rosehill Guineas
- History is against her as a mare; the only mares to win the Cox Plate have been Tranquil Star (1942, 1944), Flight (1945, 1946), Dane Ripper (1996), Sunline (1999, 2000) and Makybe Diva (2005)
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