They won Australasia’s weight-for-age championship as a maiden last start and now the hugely talented Shamus Award is gearing up for a 2014 Australian Guineas campaign against their own age this autumn.
The progressive Snitzel colt only just made the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) field on October 26, and jumped a $20 outsider in the markets.
The Danny O’Brien-trained three-year-old however certainly made the most of the opportunity presented to them, backing up from a brave Caulfield Guineas third a fortnight earlier to hang on in a nail biting finish to defeat Happy Trails and win the Cox Plate.
They were the first maiden in history to do so with more Group 1 glory now on the cards for them this coming Melbourne Festival of Racing.
Shamus Award is back in work after a brief let up and gearing up for a big autumn campaign where they will target the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
“He’s loving life,” O’Brien told Racing Victoria this week speaking of Shamus Award’s time at his Barwon Heads property.
“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.
“The Australian Guineas would be his main target for the autumn.
“He’ll probably have one or two runs (before it).”
It’s a race they’ll no doubt start the short priced favourite in seeing as they have an outstanding record over the distance and have also been competitive at Flemington before.
Along with their third to the Peter Snowden-trained Long John in the Caulfield Guineas, Shamus Award also went down a mere nose to Divine Calling over the 1600m in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley during the spring.
So early in their campaign the mile is sure to suit the Cox Plate champ especially as they face a field of fellow three-year-olds following their WFA win over their older rivals including subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente (3rd).
As for the famous Flemington track Shamus Award has raced their twice before when third to Direct Charge in last year’s Maribyrnong Plate and second, defeated just a long neck, in the Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) this March gone.
If successful they will become the first horse to complete the Cox Plate – Australian Guineas double since the latter was first run in 1986.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the upcoming autumn Group 1’s including the Australian Guineas which is also on the agenda for Victoria Derby winner Polanski.
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