Trainer Danny O’Brien believes that Shamus Award is primed for the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield next Saturday after recording a dominant win in a jump out at Flemington this morning.
Shamus Award jumped from the gates well and was challenged for the lead early before kicking well clear from the rest of the field, when asked for an extra effort from jockey Craig Williams, to score a four lengths victory.
O’Brien told Racing Victoria that he was thrilled with the effort of Shamus Award and is confident that he can record the second win of his racing career in the Orr Stakes at Caulfield on February 8.
“He had a quiet jumpout last week, we asked him to do a little bit more this morning, he was solid to the line and Craig Williams was really pleased,” O’Brien said.
“His fitness is just where we need it to be and he’s eight days out form resuming in the Orr, so everything’s positive.
“He’s a three-year-old that’s getting into the autumn, so he’s obviously getting bigger and stronger and he strips a more mature colt this autumn.
“He’s already a Cox Plate winner, so we’re expecting him to be very competitive in anything he runs in.”
While O’Brien expects Shamus Award to run well in the Orr Stakes, his major 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing target will be the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
O’Brien said he will decide whether Shamus Awards needs another run in the lead-up to the Australian Guineas after he runs in the Orr Stakes; with the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 the most likely target.
Shamus Award was unable to break through for a victory in his first nine race starts, finishing in the placings in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m), Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), before scoring a historic win in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Monee Valley on October 26.
The son of Snitzel has the chance to become the first horse since Maldivian in 2009 to win the Orr Stakes after taking out the Cox Plate the previous spring.
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