Shamus Award

published: 08 Feb 2017 in Inglis Classic Sale 2017

A dual Gr.1 winner who broke his maiden in the Cox Plate, Shamus Award was rated Australia’s Champion Three Year-Old Colt in 2013-14 and is a grandson of Redoute’s Choice. Now standing at Widden, a stud noted for making leading sires, he has his first yearlings to the sales in 2017.

SHAMUS Award will go down in racing history as the maiden colt who won the 2013 Cox Plate-Gr.1 by a half-head at his 10th start after leading all the way. The Snitzel three year-old was the first to break his maiden in the Moonee Valley feature in the 90-year history of our famous WFA race, but he’d already shown great ability with seven placings in his first nine starts including in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 and Stutt Stakes-Gr.2 for trainer Danny O’Brien.

  In defeating older Gr.1 stars Happy Trails and Melbourne Cup hero Fiorente (half-head, long neck) in the Cox Plate, he also provided 19 year-old apprentice Chad Schofield with his first Gr.1 winner. Shamus Award, who stands at Widden Stud ($27,500) and has his first yearlings to the sales in 2017, ran the 2040m in 2:05.27 (last 600m in 36.17) and proved the elite win was no fluke by capturing the Australian Guineas-Gr.1 from Criterion and Thunder Fantasy later in the season, the first horse to achieve this double. It earned him the accolade of Australia’s Champion Three Year-Old Colt of 2013-14.

  His Cox Plate win puts him in elite company as three year-old winners since 1970 are Taj Rossi (1973), Surround (1976), Red Anchor (1984), Octagonal (1995), Savabeel (2004) and So You Think (2009), while northern-time three year-old Adelaide (IRE) won in 2014 but was deemed to be a four year-old when racing here. Shamus Award became his sire’s sixth Gr.1 winner by collecting the Cox Plate.

  His breeder Bob Hannon, who operates a New Guinea-based coffee export business, keeps a band of about a dozen mares at his Ascot Park at Pitt Town and bought into the family of Shamus Award in 1989 when he purchased the colt’s Group-winning third dam From The Wood (IRE) (Tap on Wood-Aligote by Nebbiolo) with the help of bloodstock agent Keiran Moore.

  A great fan of Arrowfield Stud’s Oakleigh Plate winner Snitzel and that horse’s sire Redoute’s Choice (Danehill-Shantha’s Choice by Canny Lad), Hannon has been a long time supporter of the stud and was a shareholder in its original sire Rancher in the 1980s. Hannon bred the talented but ill-fated Amelia’s Dream in partnership using Redoute’s Choice and stakes winner Shalt Not (St Covet) and that filly won both her starts including the Silver Slipper-Gr.2 before injury forced her retirement to stud.

  “I love Snitzel and chose the mating that produced Shamus Award because I though he suited the dam Sunset Express (Success Express) on type. To win a Cox Plate is fantastic for me and for Arrowfield,” he said after the colt’s win.

  Shamus Award was his dam’s fifth foal and made $230,000 at the 2012 Inglis Easter sale (topping Session II) when part of the Vinery Stud draft. He was knocked down to trainer Greg Eurell and was subsequently given to O’Brien to train by the colt’s buyers, Ultra Tune owner Sean Buckley (who raced champion sprinter Miss Andretti) and NT racing identity Viv Oldfield.

  Shamus Award, who won $2.47m, was a very consistent galloper who had 10 first-three finishes in his 14 starts at two and three. In five starts at two (1000m-1400m), all but his first in black type events, he was third first up in the rich Inglis 2YO and then third in the Maribyrnong Plate-Gr.3 before a spell. He resumed with a third in the Listed Chairman’s Stakes, was fifth of 14 behind Miracles of Life in the Blue Diamond-Gr.1 and then a narrow second to Twilight Royale in the VRC Sires’ Produce-Gr.2.

  He resumed early in the new season with a second in the Listed Mitchell McKenzie behind Cauthen on August 24, 2013, was seventh in the Exford-LR behind Long John, was a narrow second in the Stutt-Gr.2 behind Divine Calling and then third to Long John and Divine Calling in the $1m Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 before his Cox Plate triumph.

  Off the scene for 15 weeks, he resumed with a third behind Moment of Change in the C.F. Orr-Gr.1 (1400m) and then made every post a winner with a length win in the Australian Guineas-Gr.1 (1600m) at Flemington, beating Criterion and Thunder Fantasy and running 1:36.41, the final 600m in 34.88, on March 1. He was sixth of nine in the Australian Cup-Gr.1 behind Fiorente next time out one week later and retired after finishing 14th (of 15) in the Rosehill Guineas-Gr.1 to Criterion on March 29, 2014.

  Just as he did when winning the Cox Plate, Shamus Award used his superior cruising speed to run his rivals into the ground in his historic Guineas win and was rated perfectly by jockey Craig Williams.

  “It was a very important race. We really wanted to come here and win this,” O’Brien said after the Flemington victory. “He’s done what few three year-olds have done and win a Cox Plate, but to back up and win the Guineas puts him in very rare air. His father Snitzel is a champion sire and we are going to give him every chance to hopefully emulate Snitzel at stud one day.”

  The second Gr.1 win in such convincing fashion also silenced the colt’s critics and proved beyond doubt that the Cox Plate win was no fluke. He was well received by breeders when he retired to Widden in 2014, covering 165 mares at $27,500 and leaving 100 live foals.

  “He is a remarkable colt who has taken us on the ride of a lifetime,” part owner Viv Oldfield said on the colt’s retirement. “Danny did a great job with him as a racehorse and I’m sure Widden will do the same as a stallion. We originally planned to race him in the spring and have a crack at a second Cox Plate but with Sean and I owning a band of high class mares we intended to have covered this year we elected to send him to stud as we firmly believe he will be a very successful stallion.”

  “I am very proud of what we achieved with this magnificent individual,” O’Brien said when the colt retired. “He has done what no other three year-old has done before by winning the Australian Guineas after winning the Cox Plate and to lead all the way in both races makes this achievement even more incredible. He has a rare determination you don’t often see and I will be sending mares to him hoping his progeny inherit these traits.”

  Widden’s Antony Thompson was similarly positive, describing Shamus Award as “a rare athlete who combines brilliant speed and heart breaking stamina”. Widden will be offering several of his youngsters at the coming sales. Widden has two of the sire’s 16 lots at the Gold Coast Magic Millions (January 11-17), a colt from Chaotic and a filly from Essie’s Pride and the stud has a colt from Asia Winds (IRE), among his five youngsters catalogued for the 2017 Inglis Classic (February 11-13). Shamus Award also has 23 yearlings in the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale (February 26-March 1).

  Shamus Award is among 452 winners (69.3% of starters) of $61m by $1m earner Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice-Snippets’ Lass by Snippets), runner-up to his sire on the general sires’ list of 2013-14 and winner of seven of his 15 starts including the Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 and Challenge Stakes-Gr.2 and runner-up in the Newmarket Handicap-Gr.1 and third in the T.J. Smith-Gr.1. He also won four of six starts at two including the Listed Breeders’ Plate. By a multiple Gr.1 winner and champion sire son of Danehill, his dam is a multiple stakes winner and by another brilliant sprinter in Snippets (Lunchtime (GB)) and his second dam Snow Finch (IRE) is a Listed winner and stakes producer by champion sire Storm Bird.

  Snitzel’s 43 stakes winners represent a high 7.1% of starters and his other Gr.1 winners are Hot Snitzel (Blushing Groom), Sweet Idea (Timber Country), Snitzerland (Fraar), Sizzling (General Nediym) and Wandjina (Last Tycoon). He also has Group winners out of daughters of Falbrav, Stravinsky, Zabeel, Hula Town, Woodman, Red Ransom, Narita Brian, Beautiful Crown, Marauding, Dehere, Charnwood Forest, Sunday Silence, Rubiton, Mr Greeley, Prized, Mister C, Al Akbar, Octagonal, Umatilla and Bahhare.

  Shamus Award is another bred on the successful Danehill-Success Express cross and he is among five winners for his dam, who won five races (900m-1400m) and is a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-Gr.1 winner Success Express (Hold Your Peace-Au Printemps by Dancing Champ). Second dam Finito Fling, by Golden Slipper winner Luskin Star (Kaoru Star), is a Sydney winner and won twice at 1250m and her four winners include Singapore Gr.2 winner Ghozi (Catbird) and multiple city winner Spur Me On (Flying Spur).

  Third dam From The Wood was a Gr.3 winner in Ireland and also won in Sydney and her seven named foals were all winners. Her dam Aligote (Nebbiolo-Alexandra by Ozean) produced four winners and is a half-sister to German Listed winner Ambizioso. Next dam Aroma (Orsini-Adriana by Arjaman) is among 10 winners from her dam, several of them Group winners and Gr.1 placed in Germany and France. This is family 16 and the branch tracing to Shamus Award’s ninth dam Athene (Ariel-Salamis by Hannibal) has been particularly prolific in Germany, one notable family member being German Derby winner and sire Athanasius (Ferro), sire of Ticino (seven times Champion Sire in Germany).