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Esteemed trainer Clarry Conners may not have a runner in this year’s Australian Oaks but he has plenty of respect for favourite Shamrocker and says she has what it takes to join his previous champion Research as the only fillies to complete the AJC Australian Derby – Oaks double.
Back in 1989 Research made the history books with her Derby – Oaks success and now odds are on the Danny O’Brien-trained filly Shamrocker to add her name to that exclusive club at Randwick tomorrow.
Research was crowed as Australia’s champion for the 1988 – 89 season after securing four elite level wins having also won the Flight Stakes and VRC Oaks in the spring before her Derby – Oaks double.
O’Brien tested his daughter of O’Reilly in open company back on March 5 where Shamrocker scored an emphatic 1 ¾ length shock victory in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
Following a game third to Kiwi colt Jimmy Choux in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m), Shamrocker went on to prove her Australian Guineas success was no fluke again beating home the boys in the Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) last Saturday.
“She was pretty impressive the other day and I think she’s comparable to Research,” Conners said.
“You need a good constitution to take on the colts and she seems to have that.
“Research was determined and gutsy and came to the Oaks on a similar campaign.
“It was a bit harder for her (Research) because she had to back up from the Derby on the Saturday to the Oaks on the Wednesday.”
Although her achievements this season have been impressive, Shamrocker has no chance of emulating Research in being given the Australian Horse of the Year title with the likes of Black Caviar dominating the racing scene.
She is, however, the pronounced $2.35 favourite to come home first in the AJC Oaks ahead of a smart field of fellow three-year-old fillies including VRC Oaks winner Brazilian Pulse, the Peter Moody-trained Do Ra Mi, improving Reset filly Pinker Pinker and upset Storm Queen Stakes champion Mirjulisa Lass.
Of her rivals, Conners tips Brazilian Pulse as the only one that could possibly stand in Shamrocker’s way on Saturday.
The Michael Moroney-trained Brazilian Pulse got the better of Shamrocker during the spring beating her by nearly a length in the Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks (2500m).
“The other filly who won the Oaks (Brazilian Pulse) looks the danger,” Conners said.
“They’ve been there and done it over the 2400 metres, the rest haven’t.
“I think it’s between the two of them.”
Luxbet’s premier bookmaker Paul Vincent rates Shamrocker a “winning hope” but has his money on an upset with Brazilian Pulse.
“Brazilian Pulse has been specifically set for this event,” Vincent told Races.com.au.
“She was caught three wide with no cover last start in the Vinery so her effort to finish third was gallant.
“She’ll get the gun run from her inside draw and the distance holds no fears having won the VRC Oaks in the spring.”
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