Major Cups are already on trainer Danny O’Brien’s wish list for Shamrocker despite unfinished business in what has been a stellar autumn campaign.
Shamrocker heads into the $550,000 AJC Oaks at Randwick on Saturday as easily the most popular runner with punters – and a potential spring Cups player in the eyes of O’Brien.
A famous double awaits Shamrocker on Saturday as she strives to become only the second filly to complete the AJC Australian Derby-AJC Oaks double.
O’Brien is buoyant about Shamrocker emulating Research – the only horse to claim the double with her victories in 1989.
“She has come through (the Derby) well,” he told AAP.
“She hasn’t had a lot of hard racing and it was only her fourth run this campaign.”
Research couldn’t win another race in 10 starts after completing the Classic double and was retired as an autumn four-year-old.
O’Brien believes Shamrocker, who has beaten the colts and geldings in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Australian Guineas as well as last week’s Derby, won’t suffer the same fate.
“Saturday will be her last run and I really think her best is yet to come,” he said.
“A lot of these fillies don’t come up in the spring but I think she will.”
Oaks punters have been all over Shamrocker since Wednesday’s barrier draw.
“TAB Sportsbet customers cannot see Shamrocker being beaten in Saturday’s Oaks if money is any guide,” the wagering agency’s Glenn Munsie said.
“Such has been the strength of support for Shamrocker (on Wednesday) only $1571 was been invested, in total, on all other runners in the Oaks.”
At $2.50, Shamrocker is a warm favourite over Brazilian Pulse ($4.60).
Nevertheless, there is confidence in the Brazilian Pulse camp about the filly’s prospects of completing the VRC Oaks-AJC Oaks double.
Brazilian Pulse defeated Shamrocker in the VRC Oaks and her jockey Craig Williams says an inside marble will be a big asset for his mount.
“Barrier one will make a big difference,” he said.
“The first three-quarters of the race she will be asleep and she will be good enough at the end, I hope.”
Sydney trainer Gary Portelli, chasing his second Oaks win, is also relying on spring form as his guide to the fortunes of $23 chance Rose Of Peace.
“If she can reproduce her Wakeful Stakes run and she’s in front of a few of the main chances, then she’s got a live chance,” he said.
Rose Of Peace, who finished a close fourth to Brazilian Pulse in the Wakeful Stakes, will race in blinkers for the first time this campaign.
She completed her Oaks preparation when midfield in the Adrian Knox Stakes last week when she had minimal luck from the home turn.