The Melbourne Cup dream is once again alive for Shamrocker who will step out in a jump-out at Flemington on Friday.
The 2011 Australian Derby winner was the early favourite for last year’s Cup but had a below-par spring and finished with the tail-enders in the big race.
She hasn’t been seen since and trainer Danny O’Brien says her extended break has done her the world of good and he believes she can prove herself again as a quality stayer.
“She won the Derby and then backed up in the Oaks on a very, very heavy track and I think that took a bit out of her and she never really got going last spring,” O’Brien told racingvictoria.net.au.
“We’re obviously entering this spring off a completely different situation, where she’s had the autumn off, and we’re hoping to see the benefit of that on the track.
“She’s a dual Group One winner, so we’re not going to keep racing her just for the hell of it.
“We’ll want to see her come back to her best to keep persevering and I don’t see any reason why she won’t.”
While Shamrocker wasn’t pushed to get to the racetrack during the autumn, she was given a preparation with O’Brien and a trip to Queensland.
O’Brien said the plan was for Shamrocker to return to racing at Caulfield on August 18 in either the Group Two Lawrence Stakes (1400m) or Group Three Cockram Stakes (1200m).
“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, coming off the break, so I’m really going to be guided by her first couple of runs,” he said.
“I’d say her second-up run will be in the Makybe Diva Stakes, over a mile (1600m) at Flemington which is her favourite track, and we’ll really start to make a few plans after the Makybe.
“I think her best distance is certainly 2400 (metres) plus, so we’re hoping to get a grounding into her and get to her some of the nice staying races.”
Shamrocker is a 100-1 chance in this year’s opening Melbourne Cup markets.