Shamexpress (left) beats Moment Of Change in the Newmarket HandicapPICTURE: Getty Images
Royal Ascot on radar for Shamexpress
Report: Australia, Saturday
Flemington: Lexus Newmarket Hcap (Group 1) 6f, turf, 2yo+
ROYAL ASCOT is on the radar for three-year-old Shamexpress (Danny O'Brien/Craig Newitt) after a long-range plan to win the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap came to fruition at Flemington on Saturday.
Carrying only 7st 13lb, Shamexpress was produced from near the tail of the field to take Australia's premier sprint in a thrilling finish to the A$1 million (£685,000) contest.
He arrived in time to grab favourite Moment Of Change (gave a stone) in the shadows of the post to win by a short head with Sydney sprinter Aeronautical running the race of his life to finish another nose away third.
"It's been a long-range plan since he ran third in the Coolmore on Derby Day," said trainer Danny O'Brien. "He's come here in great shape and we got the ride right today. Craig just produced him beautifully and he really let go like a top-class Group 1 sprinter."
Shamexpress had failed at his most recent start in the Lightning when he weakened after being on the speed in the race won by Black Caviar in track-record time.
The trainer has already taken Glamour Puss and three-year-old colt Star Witness to race at Royal Ascot.
"There's always the temptation to travel, particularly for straight-course horses and that seems to be the forte for him," O'Brien said. "We'll let the dust settle but there would be a chance that we'll be off to Europe."
Also on Saturday
Flemington: Darley Australian Cup (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 2yo+
Three-year-olds fought out the finish of this prestigious A$1m (£685,000) event as Super Cool (Mark Kavanagh/Michael Rodd) beat Fiveandahalfstar by a short head in the Super Saturday feature.
"To get a three-year-old to win at weight-for-age - it's full credit to the horse," said Kavanagh.
Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon was fourth.
Warwick Farm (Sydney): Chipping Norton Stakes (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo+
The 3-1 favourite Shoot Out (Chris Waller/Hugh Bowman) repeated last year's win in this race, getting up in the last stride to catch 30-1 shot Monton in the first Group 1 of the Sydney autumn.
The six-year-old has now won five Group 1s, dating back to the Randwick Guineas and AJC Derby as a three-year-old.