Express ticket to the world

A trip to Royal Ascot beckons in June for Shamexpress after he upstaged his more fancied older rivals to win the $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Super Saturday.

The Danny O’Brien-trained colt became the fifth three-year-old in the past decade to win Australia’s most prestigious sprint when he ran down favourite Moment of Change in the shadows of the post.

The victory, at odds of $15, came in the final leg of Racing Victoria’s G1 Championship and elevated Shamexpress to a four-way tie with Black Caviar, Mrs Onassis and Moment of Change.

The $50,000 international travel subsidy for the highest point scorer across the G1 series will be split evenly amongst those within the quartet that travel abroad in 2013, with Shamexpress set to claim his share.

“We’re London bound now....I’ll be jumping on Qantas tonight and booking four business class airfares for the family,” delighted managing owner Jeff Dimery said of his Royal Ascot ambitions.

O’Brien said he’d consult with Dimery and his co-owners before making a final decision on Shamexpress’ future plans, but made it clear that Royal Ascot would be central to those discussions.

The Flemington-based trainer is no stranger to the UK’s famous carnival having campaigned Glamour Puss there in 2006 and Star Witness, who placed in both the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2011.

One thing is for certain, Shamexpress won’t be taking on Black Caviar in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday week, 22 March.

The O’Reilly colt did that in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at his previous start on 16 February and was well beaten by Australia’s glamour girl after racing on the speed.

Ridden more conservatively today by Craig Newitt, Shamexpress emerged late to win the judge’s nod over Moment Of Change and outsider Aeronautical in a thrilling three-way finish.

“Craig just produced him beautifully and he really let go like a top class Group 1 sprinter,” O’Brien said.

“That’s the secret, to get a little bit of cover on him early. He was wanting to charge early but fortunately he (Newitt) buried him and when he did see daylight he really let go.”

The win was the culmination of a plan hatched following the horse’s sixth start when he finished third against his own group over the same track and distance in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes last November.

“It’s been a long range plan, certainly since Coolmore (Stud Stakes) day and he has come in great shape and he got the right ride today,” O’Brien said.

Newitt celebrated his second win in the Newmarket having piloted Miss Andretti to success in 2007 before combining with that mare for Group 1 glory at Royal Ascot later that year.

Story by Racing Victoria, to view full Racing Victoria story click here

Photo by Getty Images, to view Gettys website click here