In a true fairytale 2013 Cox Plate result today’s weight-for-age championship was won for the first time in history by a maiden with emergency runner Shamus Award getting home first in an incredible all-the-way effort with apprentice hoop Chad Schofield aboard.
Lining up in the $3 million Group 1 WS Cox Plate (2040m), the three-year-old Snitzel colt became the 20th of their age to beat home the older horses in the classic, the first since the great So You Think did so for their first in 2009.
They didn’t beat a Cox Plate field of chumps either with runner-up being the brave Turnbull Stakes winning giant killer Happy Trails, while third went to the fast finishing Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente in a beautiful 2013 Melbourne Cup lead-up.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Cox Plate winner only made the field as the first emergency after hot favourite Atlantic Jewel was withdrawn with injury earlier in the week, paving the way for Shamus Award to gain a start in the Moonee Valley showdown.
Drawn in gate three the horse went out as a $21 chance in Cox Plate betting, with Ladbrokes.com.au punters able to lock them in for as long as $52 at one stage thanks to the bookie’s incredible double the odds offer.
Last seen running third to the Peter Snowden-trained Long John, a $7 chance in today’s race, in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Shamus Award broke their maiden status in the most spectacular of stories winning the Cox Plate at start number 10.
“Today we just got our chance to get out there and show what a great colt he is,” winning trainer O’Brien said after the race.
“He could easily have been a (Caulfield) Guineas and a Cox Plate winner but we’re more than happy with the Cox Plate.”
It was also the promising star’s first look at further than a mile adding even more merit to their upset success, O’Brien having had the Cox Plate in mind for them for some time.
“We were always wanting to run but we were well aware of the criteria for this race,” he said.
“We had a bit of good fortune with Atlantic Jewel coming out.
“And here we are now.”
Shamus Award jumped quickly away from their inside draw and kicked up early to take the lead in the early stages, a position they were classy and gutsy enough to hang onto right until the line.
It was a beautiful ride from the very talented young Schofield who controlled the race, dictating proceedings and doing what he wanted to do in a brave ride in front.
Sitting behind the leader were the likes of Puissance De Lune (12th) and Long John (9th) who had settled third.
Waterhouse’s 2012 Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente meanwhile was three wide and forced to do lots of work to maintain their position, eventually moving up into second with just 1000m to go in the Cox Plate.
With 800m left to travel Fiorente, last seen running fourth in the Turnbull, was just a neck away from Shamus Award with the Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool (5th) in third.
There were some hard luck stories coming to the final turn including the race favourite It’s A Dundeel who was caught three wide and unable to improve their position eventually finishing nearly six lengths away eighth.
Down the straight Shamus Award dug deep and shook off Fiorente ($8), accelerating away to hold them off and win despite a late launch from Happy Trails ($12) who snared second in a photo for the Cox Plate trifecta.
The always honest Chris Waller-trained Foreteller ($21) then finished off the first four in the Cox Plate one and a quarter lengths off the winner.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, it’s a fantastic feeling,” Schofield said after the win.
“Wanted to get a Group 1 really badly and what a way to do it in the Cox Plate.
“I was confident the horse would run well but at the same time he was a 30-1 pop.
“I had a couple of looks the last 100 metres and I could see Happy Trails flying.
“Then Michael Rodd pulled up next to me over the line and pointed out the camera which was on me.”
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2013 Cox Plate Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 10 – 26/10/2013
|1||15e||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Chad Schofield (a)||–||3||49.5kg||$21|
|2||2||HAPPY TRAILS||Byron Cozamanis||Dwayne Dunn||0.1L||2||59kg||$12|
|3||3||FIORENTE (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||0.5L||14||59kg||$8|
|4||4||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||1.25L||8||59kg||$21|
|5||12||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||Corey Brown||3.25L||13||57.5kg||$18|
|6||5||SIDE GLANCE (GB)||Andrew Balding||Craig Williams||4L||1||59kg||$41|
|7||6||SEVILLE (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||5.5L||9||59kg||$31|
|8||11||IT’S A DUNDEEL (NZ)||Murray Baker||James McDonald||5.7L||12||57.5kg||$4F|
|9||14||LONG JOHN||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||7.45L||10||49.5kg||$7|
|9||1||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Brett Prebble||7.45L||11||59kg||$12|
|11||10||MULL OF KILLOUGH (IRE)||Jane Chapple-Hyam||Steven Arnold||7.55L||4||59kg||$41|
|12||8||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||10.55L||7||59kg||$5.50|
|13||9||MASKED MARVEL (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Michael Rodd||11.3L||5||59kg||$31|
|14||7||REKINDLED INTEREST||Jim Conlan||Mark Zahra||13.3L||6||59kg||$51|
|–||13||ATLANTIC JEWEL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||–||0||–||–|