Shamexpress Faces First-Up Victoria Derby Test

Trainer Danny O’Brien will be looking at Shamexpress’ performance at Caulfield this weekend to assess his suitability for the Group 1 Victoria Derby in November.

Shamexpress will run in the HDF McNeil Stakes in Melbourne on Saturday, where he will face the likes of Elite Elle and Kabayan.

The O’Reilly colt began his race career as a two-year-old last season, which is unusual for a progeny of that sire.

“He was ahead of schedule to get those runs in as a two-year-old,” O’Brien said.

“We bought him in New Zealand hopefully to have a nice staying three-year-old and older horse so it was nice to see him perform at two.

“We’re hoping he gets all the way to the Derby this spring.”

The now three-year-old won his first start by an impressive four lengths, before placing second behind Pronto Pronto in his next start.

He went on to place a respectable fifth of 14 runners in the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington on March 10.

O’Brien is hopeful Shamexpress can begin his spring carnival on a high with a win in the HDF McNeil Stakes this weekend, however, understands that the colt is looking for further.

“He’s in great shape and he’s matured into a lovely colt,” O’Brien said.

“He’s had two (unofficial) trials so he’s fairly forward but it’s probably a bit short for him on Saturday.”

Shamexpress is a half brother of recently retired mare Shamrocker and is raced by many of the same owners.

Shamrocker was incredibly successful during her career, winning the Group 1 Australian Guineas and Group 1 AJC Australian Derby.

She also placed second in both the Group 1 Crown Oaks and Group 1 AJC Oaks as a three-year-old.

The now five-year-old won four of her 18 race starts and won close to $2 million in prize money.

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