G1 targets not a Sham

Danny O’Brien has confirmed that talented colt Shamexpress will be kept to sprint distances with both the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap on the horse’s Melbourne Festival of Racing agenda.

Formerly thought of as a possible Guineas or Derby contender, Shamexpress put the writing on the wall when he showed an impressive turn of speed to finish third behind Nechita in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day at Flemington.

Nominated for both a 1000m three-year-old event at Moonee Valley on Friday night as well as a 0-89 handicap at Caulfield over the same distance on Saturday, O’Brien told RSN’s Shane Anderson that the son of O’Reilly would kick off his campaign at Moonee Valley.

“We’ve worked out where he is best suited and that’s going to be around the five or six furlong mark (1000m – 1200m),” O’Brien said.

“His run in the Coolmore was terrific and we’re hoping that he can bounce out on Friday night and get into one of the better sprints like the Oakleigh Plate or the Newmarket later in the autumn.”

Another interesting O’Brien-trained runner over the weekend is the gifted four-year-old Decircles who is nominated to resume at Caulfield on Saturday.

A runner-up in the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old, O’Brien said the son of Encosta De Lago would resume his racing career as a gelding.

“He’s had a couple of issues. He had a wind operation after his last preparation. He then had a good long spell after that and was gelded as well,” he said.

“He’ll resume on Saturday in the restricted 0-89 1000m race at Caulfield.

“This is a horse that’s certainly shown Group class ability as a two and three-year-old, with a similar profile to the horse that won the Standish Adamantium; who we’re hoping can now put his hand up as a four-year-old and get into some decent races.”

O’Brien also said he expects two-year-old son of More Than Ready, Excitable Boy, to be competitive on Saturday in the $120,000 Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) for the colts and geldings.

“His first and only run in the Spring was very good. He loomed up to win the race but he just shortened up on the track, it was very firm and his shins were pretty rough the next day,” he said.

“I think he’s a horse with Blue Diamond style ability and I that running in the Preview on Saturday will let us know where we’re at.”

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

Photo by Slickpix, to view Slickpix website click here