Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien is confident Shamexpress has ability that outweighs his results so far and has no hesitations in aiming the colt at the Group 1 2013 Australian Guineas (1600m).
The three-year-old has only won once from seven starts, on debut in January 2012, but O’Brien is confident he can turn his potential into results in the future.
He points to the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November as evidence of the O’Reilly colt’s ability, where he ran a strong third behind Patinack’s star filly Nechita.
“He could have won that day had things gone his way early, but they didn’t,” O’Brien told Racing Network.
“He’s our Australian Guineas horse this autumn and he’s good enough to be very competitive.”
The $600,000 Australian Guineas will take place on March 2 at Shamexpress’ home track at Flemington and is set to feature a classy field.
Among the contenders will be gun colt All Too Hard who will have jump-outs over the next couple of weeks before resuming in the either the Listed 2013 Manfred Stakes on February 2 or the Group 1 2013 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) the following week.
“He’ll be ready at the end of the month, whether it’s the Manfred or the Orr or something like that,” trainer John Hawkes said.
Others known to be targeting Melbourne’s major autumn three-year-old race include Darley colt Albrecht and Greg Eurell’s raw youngster Hosting.
Albrecht showed plenty of potential during the spring when he won the Group 3 Up and Coming Stakes and finished runner-up in both the Group 1 Golden Rose and the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes.
Hosting has had just the one start but certainly hinted he was destined for bigger things when recording a 3 1/2 length walloping at Mornington in August.
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