Williams buoyed by Shillelagh ahead of Cup

Shillelagh - Bruno Cannatelli

Bruno Cannatelli

A keen form student, jockey Craig Williams says the Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m) is an intriguing race with a number of different form lines meeting at Flemington.

Williams rides the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh (NZ) (Savabeel), the only mare in Saturday's Group One race, and said she had chased the ride after watching her at Flemington last spring.

"I wanted the ride on her because of her performance in the Mackinnon Stakes last spring," Williams said.

"I thought that run showed that Flemington, over 10 furlongs, at weight-for-age, she could mix it with our best horses."

Shillelagh has had two runs in her autumn campaign, beating one home in the Gr.1 C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 9 before running sixth to Avilius (Pivotal) in the Gr.2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) two weeks later.

Williams saw in that run she was on track towards the Australian Cup.

"I thought her last run at Caulfield showed me she was right on the mark," Williams said.

"Her piece of work on Tuesday I was very happy with and when you go back through her form her two Group One wins have both been at Flemington.

"She does appreciate the big straight so she's a ride I'm looking forward to, but there's a lot of intrigue in the race."

Shillelagh is raced by her Hunterville breeders Christopher and Susanna Grace.


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