Vinery Stud had a more than able back-up in Shamus Award when Atlantic Jewel was scratched from the G1 Cox Plate.

Shamus Award (Snitzel) replaced the champion mare and he seized the opportunity with a front-running victory at Moonee Valley on Saturday.  The Danny O’Brien trained colt had just enough in reserve to defeat late closers Happy Trials and Fiorente.

“We were lucky one dropped out of the race and we got a start,” O’Brien said tongue-in-cheek.  “Just because he was a maiden shouldn’t take the shine off what is a great story for racing.”

The Shamus Award story started when breeder Bob Hannon bought his third-dam From The Wood (Ire).  He has been involved with the family since the 1990s and Vinery sold his Cox Plate winner for $230,000 at the 2012 Inglis Easter yearling sale.

“Shamus Award certainly didn’t deserve to be a maiden,” O’Brien declared.  “He was placed in the Stutt Stakes and Caulfield Guineas but a couple of things went against him in those races.

“He got his chance today and with 49kg we were always going to be aggressive from the good draw.  He’s a high-class colt and made his own luck in front.”

O’Brien prepares Shamus Award for owners Sean Buckley and Viv Oldfield and the colt has now earned over $2.11 million.  He will be spelled and set for the G1 Australian Guineas at Flemington in March.

The 2014 Cox Plate signalled a changing of the guard following the retirement of Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock).  The champion mare was bred and sold by Vinery part owner Greg Perry for $320,000 at the 2010 Gold Coast Magic Millions.

The Cox Plate completed a Group 1 double for Vinery at Moonee Valley after Mossman sprinter Buffering scored a triumphant victory in the Manikato Stakes on Friday night.

And Vinery commenced Saturday’s Cox Plate program on a winning note with Silversands.  The Dubleo filly burst through a gap in the straight to claim the $250,000 Inglis Banner for Vinery part owner Alan Green.