NZ bred colt Shamexpress captured Australia’s premier short-course race with a well-timed finish in the G1 Newmarket Hcp (1200m) on Saturday.
Shamexpress (3c O’Reilly – Volkrose by Volksraad) had won on debut at Flemington in January 2012, however, his only other victory had been a Moonee Valley sprint on the Australia Day weekend in January this year.
“The Newmarket has been our long-range plan since he ran third in the Coolmore Stakes on Derby Day,” trainer Danny O’Brien said. “He’s come in great shape and we got the ride right from Craig (Newitt) today.”
Last time out, Shamexpress eye-balled Black Caviar in the G1 Lightning Stakes but, in O’Brien’s words, “melted” when the champion mare opened the after-burners.
O’Brien bought Shamexpress for $130,000 at the 2011 NZB Karaka Sale. The Newmarket winner has earned over $780,000 and connections are considering a trip to Royal Ascot. “There’s always the temptation to travel, particularly for straight-course horses and that seems to be his forte,” O’Brien said. “There’s a strong chance that we will be off to Europe.”
Shamexpress is the 65th stakes winner by Waikato Stud sire O’Reilly. He is a three-quarter bother to G3 winning filly O’Reilly Rose and, further back, it’s the family of G1 Caulfield Cup winner Affinity.
O’Brien has enjoyed some of his most successful wins with O’Reilly and Waikato Stud owner Garry Chittick. His other O’Reilly G1 winners include Master O’Reilly (Caulfield Cup) and Shamrocker (AJC Derby) plus G2 Makybe Diva Stakes winner Vigor.
O’Brien also trained the Chittick-owned mare Glamour Puss (Tale of the Cat) to G1 triumphs in the VRC Salinger Stakes and SAJC Goodwood Hcp. The Waikato homebred also travelled to Royal Ascot in 2006 but was unplaced in the G2 King’s Stand Stakes and G1 Golden Jubilee Stakes.
– Karl Patterson