Australian sprinters have set the benchmark when it comes to the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes...

Australian sprinters have set the benchmark when it comes to the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes and Danny O’Brien is aiming to continue the trend set by Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast when Shamexpress goes to post at Royal Ascot in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Newmarket Handicap winner faces 18 rivals in the 1000-metre dash due off at five minutes past midnight and bids to become the fifth Australian winner in the last 11 years.

And that tally could have risen even higher had O’Brien’s Star Witness not found Prohibit half-a-length too strong when beaten into second two years ago.

O’Brien said of this year’s challenger: “We had a barrier trial at Flemington and the horse who finished second, Linton, went on to win the Stradbroke Handicap so Shamexpress's form leaving Australia was very good.

“He took the trip really well which is obviously the big thing. It is a long time travelling but he seemed to handle it.

"We were close enough when running second with Star Witness to know that we had got most of the preparation right. We are sticking to a similar formula and hoping we can go one better.

“Star Witness was the champion two-year-old and three-year-old - a very precocious horse. This guy is getting there a bit later in his career but is equal to him now if not better.

"I think Shamexpress is coming here at the right time of his career - he is nowhere near as seasoned as some of the Australian horses who have run at Royal Ascot such as Takeover Target and Black Caviar because he is only a three-year-old.

"He's a horse in a really good space and I think he is still improving - on an upward spiral. I expect him to show that on Tuesday and his next few runs should be the best of his career.”

Star Witness had finished second in the $1m Patinack Farm Classic in the spring before his UK adventure and VRC have put up a $A600,000 bonus for any Global Sprint Challenge international leg winner who can supplement their win with success in that race at Flemington in Melbourne Cup week.

Favourite for the King’s Stand is Mike de Kock’s Shea Shea – a South African Grade One winner who scored twice in Dubai this year with the second leg of his double his Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) success, achieved in a course-record time.

De Kock said: "I always knew he was good but I think his performance on World Cup night inDubaiwas special. He stepped up again there.

"There is the weight and the pressure of a nation on him. We will be doing our best and he will be doing his best - if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

"I have a few Royal Ascot runners and this is one meeting any trainer would like to have a winner at.”

Sole Power, third in the race last year and second to Shea Shea in the Al Quoz trial, tries his luck again in the race for Irish trainer Edward Lynam, who said: “If Shea Shea brings his Dubai form to Ascot it won’t matter what the rest of us do.

“The first time we met him at Meydan he broke the track record, then he went and smashed it the second time. We actually broke the old track record both times but one time we were only fourth.

“If he turns up like that at Ascot I can’t see him getting beat but we’ll give it a go, our horse is in good form.”

Click here for the full field, form and draws for the Kings’ Stand Stakes.