Danny O’Brien has aimed Cox Plate winner Shamus Award at the Australian Guineas since the spring and believes he is spot on heading to Flemington on Saturday.
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The Snitzel colt would lift his stud value with a win, but that career is still a long way off. If he wins, Shamus Award will be the first three-year-old to complete the Cox Plate-Australian Guineas double.

”When we sat down after the spring this was the race that stood out for us because it was at a mile and is so prestigious in terms of going to stud,” O’Brien said. ”He is going to race on as a four-year-old, the owners have decided to have another crack at the Cox Plate, but you only get one chance at an [Australian] Guineas.”

Shamus Award broke his maiden with an all-the-way Cox Plate win after often proving the bridesmaid during the spring. However, he has been able to hold a high level at his past four runs, which included being Stutt Stakes runner-up and third in the Caulfield Guineas before his day of glory at Moonee Valley.

He returned running third to Moment Of Change in the Orr Stakes and O’Brien believes a focus on winning probably cost him at the end of the weight-for-age group 1.

”We went out to beat Moment Of Change [in the Orr Stakes] first-up and he [Shamus Award] was just out on his feet in the last 100m,” O’Brien said. ”That is no disgrace the way Moment Of Change is going, particular around the 1400m at Caulfield.

”We were happy enough with the run and he has come on since.

”It was the right run to have him just where we want him going into this race, which is his major target for the autumn.”

Drawing in the middle of the 14-horse field gives Shamus Award the chance to land the run of the race. O’Brien said there would be no repeat of getting out of his ground as he did in the Caulfield Guineas.

”In almost every other run he has had he has been up near the speed. It was just that Glen Boss didn’t know him that well that day,” he said. ”You have to be a bit aggressive on him early to get him running and I expect Craig [Williams] will have him in the first half-dozen on Saturday.”

Exchange punters believe the best form for the Guineas is the Orr Stakes, with the runner-up from that race, Eurozone, and Shamus Award well supported since acceptances.

”Hucklebuck is getting out despite his good record, while Eurozone and Shamus Award have been the most matched runners,” Betfair’s Daniel Bevan said.

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