Danny Williams-trained Shelby Sixtysix breaks through for well-deserved Highway win

William Pike and the Danny Williams-trained Shelby Sixtysix, pictured here finishing a close second in last Saturday’s Highway Handicap at Rosehill Gardens, broke through for a Highway win at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

The Danny Williams-trained Shelby Sixtysix has broken through for a well-deserved Highway Handicap victory at Royal Randwick today. 

Ridden by William Pike, the five-year-old came from off the pace, storming home to win the 1000m Class Two Handicap easily in heavy (10) conditions.

It was the 11th time the Toronado gelding had raced in a Highway Handicap, having placed four times prior to Saturday’s victory, and last week he was only beaten 0.09 of a length by the Stirling Osland-trained Golden Point

On the short back-up, and dropping back from 1400m to 1000m, it was an almighty training effort and Williams was simply pleased to see the consistent Goulburn galloper breakthrough in town.

“He has been in form and unfortunately he hasn’t been winning but he had a lot of bad luck with it,” Williams said. 

“He should have won, in my opinion, his last three (Highways) prior to today.

“He got absolutely skittled here and nearly fell and then when he ran fifth here the other day, he just had no luck.”

Incredibly, Williams was informed by vets that Shelby Sixtysix would struggle to have much of a career prior to his first start, but the five-year-old has defied that opinion, having gone on to have 21 starts, winning three times and earning $175,000 in prizemoney.

“Before his first starts, the vet said this horse won’t have much of a career; he has got that many issues,” Williams said. 

“So, he has done extremely well to do what he’s done.”

Williams said a wet forecast was the main reason Shelby Sixtysix backed up at Royal Randwick following his close second at Rosehill Gardens only seven days ago.

“I think it was a very good win and it was good planning,” Williams said.

“I have been making some decisions lately that have been the right decisions and straight after the race the other day, I looked at the weather forecast and they were forecasting this rain event and I said to my manager, nominate that horse and get William Pike.”

The Goulburn trainer explained that his sometimes-luckless Highway campaigner only needed a little work in between runs, and despite luck going against him at times, Shelby Sixtysix was as consistent as the day was long.

“Every time I gallop him, something goes wrong with him, so we just race him and don’t do much with him in between,” Williams said.

“He is a very versatile horse; he can run a thousand or he can run a mile; perhaps he hasn’t had a lot of luck, but he is very consistent, and we have had a lot of fun along the way.”

Pike, who was just beaten on Shelby Sixtysix last time out, didn’t make the same mistake at Randwick and Williams believed the pair were a good fit.

“I said to William, ‘I think you’ll suit this horse; you’re a thinker’, and you could see him coming to the turn, planning his path,” Williams said. 

“He wasn’t panicking and that ride the other day gave him the confidence to sit back and let everything unfold and the horse was just too strong and fit on today’s run.”

Saturday’s Highway Handicap was a lucrative result for the Williams yard, with the stable’s three runners finishing inside the top four. 

Shelby Sixtysix beat home the Matthew Dale-trained Devils Triangle (Sam Clipperton) in second and stablemates Prince Nicconi (Mathew Cahill) and Brazen Impact (Jason Collett) finished third and fourth respectively.

For results, readers can click here.