“Wow, from Highway horse to Group One hero”, was how Rosehill race caller Darren Flindell aptly described Shelby Sixtysix’s victory in the Group One Galaxy at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The Danny Williams’s-trained five-year-old kept up his terrific form this preparation, winning the $700,000 race for connections, beating home Big Parade and In The Congo while under the guidance of Robbie Dolan.
Funnily enough, only four starts ago – as a 63-rater – Shelby Sixtysix took out the 1000m Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick for country-only horses, ending a frustrating run of outs before going on to finish second to Eduardo in the 1000m Group 2 Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick, beating home Nature Strip.
Last Saturday, the Toronado gelding then won at Group 3 level, taking out the 1100m Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes before today’s sensational Group 1 win.
Shelby Sixtysix was still midfield after the turn in today’s race, but on a heavy surface, the Goulburn galloper stormed home to win well, and Dolan said he was always ‘confident’ he had the horse under him to beat the leaders.
“I had a lovely run. Jason’s (Collett) horse (Bella Nipotina) jumped really awkwardly into the gates and sort of took out what I wanted to do; I wanted to cross Jason and be on the fence following Overpass,” Dolan said.
“As soon as I clipped him up at the 600m I was so confident I was going to get them. I had a lovely run following Mark’s (Zahra) horse through and he just kept finding, he was solid through the line. The sky’s the limit for this horse.”
Dolan even suggested Shelby Sixtysix should now be considered for the $15 million The Everest, which will be run and won at Royal Randwick on October 15.
“Shelby Sixtysix; get him in The Everest. He’s a superstar. Danny Williams – what a training performance that was,” Dolan said.
In a big turnaround for not only Shelby Sixtysix, but also for Dolan, the Irish hoop was thankful for the opportunity to again team up with Williams and his Goulburn stable.
“Racing is swings and roundabouts, you just have to take it on the chin, and you know I picked myself off the ground – a lot of people were abusing me the other day after that horse (Profondo) but stuff happens and you just have to go on with it. I’m just very grateful to get on this horse today,” Dolan said.
“Danny gave me my first couple of winners in Australia, I used to ride for him a lot down in Goulburn, he’s always been a big supporter of mine. Unbelievable training performance.”
For full Rosehill results, readers can click here.