The Danny O’Brien-trained Shamexpress, who was brilliant in winning the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington last March, has pleased the stable in the lead up to the seventh leg of the rich Global Sprint Sprint Challenge, reports Racing Victoria.


On a short break in Spain before the Newmarket three-day meeting kicks off on Thursday, O’Brien reported that the O’Reilly colt pulled up well after his ninth placing in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot on 18 June.

The Flemington horseman was disappointed with Shamexpress’ first-up performance last preparation in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) in February where he finished seven lengths behind Black Caviar.

Albeit with the superstar mare out of the picture, Shamexpress turned around that first-up disappointment to score a narrow win in the Newmarket Handicap.

TAB currently rates Shamexpress a $10 chance in its second tilt at UK success and O’Brien will be hoping he can deliver a similar turnaround in form over the straight “July Course” at the famous track on 13 July and says that the horse should be “better suited over the 1200-metres”.

With Craig Newitt declining a second opportunity to ride Shamexpress in England, the booking of top UK-hoop Richard Hughes takes advantage of a Group 1 jockey who boasts wins in races such as the Queen Anne Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes, both over a 1600-metres, and a victory in the July Cup aboard Oasis Dream in 2003.

Hughes is also on the crest of a winning wave having notched a century of winners for the season this week with a treble at Windsor last Monday.

His versatility in being able to ride horses quietly sees O’Brien “very happy” with the Hughes being in the saddle.