Trainer Danny O’Brien is confident in a successful showing for former Group 1 champion Shamexpress in this weekend’s featured Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick, despite the stallion being unable to reach full capacity so-far in 2014.
Unable to build off a strong run for second in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 15th, O’Brien told TVN the likely dead conditions of the Randwick track is weekend should suit the style of his runner more than most surfaces have this time in.
“It’s a suitable race for him at this stage of his preparation even though we go up to 1400 metres with him” O’Brien said.
“He’s rock-hard fit after four runs and he gets back on top of the ground.”
Returning to work well after running a disappointing seventh on the heavy going of the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) last time out, O’Brien confirmed in-form jockey Blake Shinn will take over the ride from Damien Oliver this weekend, who has been unable to secure a victory on the O’reilly entire in six attempts
“We’re confident enough to have another crack at the 1400 metres with him now” O’Brien said.
“He’s drawn a nice gate and he’s had a good prep to go the 1400 metres.
“Damien hasn’t won on the horse and we’re looking to unlock the key to winning with him again.”
Securing three wins and five places from only 18 competitive starts so far, Shamexpress was a standout performer over the 2013 autumn; winning the Premium Handicap (1000m) first-up and working towards a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March.
Unable to figure in two Group 1 starts abroad in Great Britain, Shamexpress returned to Australia to finish an unlucky second in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) to close a short spring preparation.
Allocated the ideal barrier 2 for this weekend’s featured All Aged Stakes, Shamexpress is currently offered at particularly generous odds of $11 for success and is tied occupant of the fourth line of betting with Japanese raider Hana’s Goal.
Finishing a strong second in the T.J. Smith last time out, Rebel Dane is currently clear $2.80 favourite in All Aged Stakes betting markets ahead of Weary and Steps In Time; sharing the second line of betting at a quote of $5.50.
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