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He is the class runner in Saturday’s Group One Rosehill Guineas but Shamus Award will need to prove himself on two fronts to win.

The colt has never raced in the clockwise direction, nor on a surface worse than dead.

The 2000m contest is set to be held on a heavy track and jockey Craig Williams admits he can offer little insight into how the Cox Plate winner will cope with it.

“He’s never raced on a wet track so the Gods will tell whether he handles it,” Williams said.

“They have all got to run in it.”

A surprise winner of the Cox Plate in the spring, Shamus Award reinforced his quality with an all-the-way victory in the Group One Australian Guineas.

He drops back to three-year-old company on Saturday after finishing sixth to Fiorente in the Australian Cup three weeks ago.

Williams isn’t concerned by the colt’s newness to Sydney and says trainer Danny O’Brien has him well prepared.

“He had a serious gallop the Sydney way at Moonee Valley on Saturday morning and (on Wednesday) he just had a spin around at Flemington,” Williams said.

“I’d be disappointed and surprised if Shamus Award got beaten because of racing in the other direction.

“Danny has given him plenty of work that way and I’m really happy with the way he has taken to going right-handed.”

Australian Guineas placegetters Criterion and Thunder Fantasy will again be among Shamus Award’s adversaries on Saturday.

Criterion was an even eighth to Dissident at Randwick last start and will be reunited with Hugh Bowman who hasn’t been aboard since his two-year-old season.

The backmarker wasn’t suited in a Randwick Guineas dominated by the on-pace runners but Bowman says he can feature if Saturday’s tempo is more genuine.

“I’m not saying I think he can win but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. All he needs is a bit of pressure up front and a trouble-free run and he’ll be doing better than most of them in the last furlong,” Bowman said.

Murray Baker has indicated he could have just one Guineas runner, Show The World, with Atlante a doubtful starter if Sydney’s wet weather continues.

Baker won the race last year with It’s A Dundeel.

 
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