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On a day when the AJC Australian Derby might have had to play second fiddle to Black Caviar, Shamrocker put it back in the spotlight when she became the first filly since 1989 to win the blue riband.


The Danny O’Brien-trained three-year-old produced a superior staying performance over the 2400 metres to claim a unique double of the Australian Guineas and the Derby.

And the plan is to go for a treble with next week’s AJC Australian Oaks against her own sex still a target.

“Provided she pulls up all right, she’s definitely going to the Oaks,” O’Brien said.

“That’s been the plan all along.

“It’s a very special day to be here and to win the 150th running of the Derby is a great honour.

“This filly is strong, she can stay and she loves Flemington so the Melbourne Cup is the obvious aim in the spring.”

Shamrocker, who finished third in the Rosehill Guineas last time out, started the $5 second favourite behind Guineas winner, New Zealander Jimmy Choux ($2.30).

Glen Boss, who lost his Derby mount Absolutelyawesome to injury, was reunited with Shamrocker and made the most of it.

He had her a little worse than midfield, rolling along comfortably, with He’s Remarkable taking the lead in the early part of the race.

When the pressure went on in the straight, Shamrocker was up to the task and loomed up to Retrieve ($8), who had been second most of the way, and went past him.

Retrieve tried hard but was 1-1/4 lengths astern on the line with Anacheeva ($21) another 3-1/4 lengths away third.

“I had supreme confidence in her,” Boss said.

“She has great lung capacity, she’s very relaxed and we got a couple of soft sectionals.

“She was strong on the line.

“It’s wonderful to win on my favourite track in front of my favourite people.”

Like O’Brien, Boss believes Shamrocker will be a force in the Melbourne spring and he hopes he might have found his next special horse.

The regular rider of three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, Boss said he watched in awe as Luke Nolen rode Black Caviar to victory in the TJ Smith earlier in the day.

“I had a tear in my eye to see Lukey Nolen experience something I did with Makybe Diva,” he said.

“The special horses don’t come along very often.”

Shamrocker may well be one of those special horses as is Jimmy Choux despite his sixth placing.

“There are no excuses,” trainer John Bary said.

“He raced like a tired horse that has come to the end of his campaign.

“And he’s not really a stayer, he’s a sprinter-miler so we’ll take him home for a break and get him ready for Melbourne in the spring.”

AAP TURF

 
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