It is a different track but Danny O’Brien is hoping for the same result when star colt Shamus Award meets Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente for the second time in Saturday’s Australian Cup.
Shamus Award led all the way to win the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last spring with Fiorente third before the Gai Waterhouse-trained import went on to win the Melbourne Cup.
The O’Brien-trained Shamus Award gave another front running display to win Saturday’s Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds, setting up a second clash with six-year-old Fiorente in Saturday’s 2000m weight-for-age feature.
This time the clash takes place on the bigger Flemington track with its longer straight.
“I think at Flemington you are always a bit more vulnerable, particularly when you are going to be right on the speed,” O’Brien said.
“If it was around Moonee Valley I’d certainly be more confident. But he handled Flemington very well last Saturday. He’ll be up there and Fiorente will have to get past him.”
Fiorente, an impressive last-stride winner of the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) first-up, is the $1.95 favourite with Shamus Award firming to $4 second elect with the TAB.
O’Brien said Shamus Award had come through his Australian Guineas win well and was in great shape to try to add a third Group One to his tally.
“He’s a pretty tough colt. He took some hard runs in the spring and came out of them really well and the best run of his spring was his last one,” the trainer said.
“We’re hoping he can find a length or two each time he steps out.”
O’Brien has strong chances in the day’s two Group Ones at Flemington with Shamexpress shooting for back-to-back Newmarket Handicap wins.