It has been confirmed by trainer Danny Williams that his Autumn Carnival cult hero Shelby Sixtysix will be heading to The Championships.
Connections have decided to pay the $55,000 late entry fee to secure their star galloper a start in the $2.5m Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 2.
However, Williams conceded that coming up with the cash before next Tuesday’s 8am deadline would not be easy.
As a part-owner of Shelby Sixtysix, he admitted he has a cash flow problem as he waits for The Galaxy prizemoney to be paid out.
“The ownership group has had a discussion and we all feel Shelby’s form warrants us going ahead with a start in the TJ Smith Stakes,” Williams said.
“Of course, we have to come up with the money and I am not in the position financially of some of the others.
“The horse has won enough money for us to pay the late entry fee, but the problem is the prizemoney we have received from his earlier wins I have used to pay a heap of bills.”
“We won’t get the money from The Galaxy until the swab clears. I’m still battling a bit but I’m sure as a group we will come up with the money.”
Shelby Sixtysix was beaten in a TAB Highway at Rosehill on February 19, before winning the Highway the following week at Randwick.
His swift rise to fame came the next week when he took on some of the best sprinters in the country, going past multiple Group 1 winner Nature Strip and getting within 0.2 lengths of beating Eduardo in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes.
Backing up once again the weekend after, he won the Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m).
Shelby Sixtysix had by now earned himself the nickname ‘Party Boy’ having turned up to four consecutive Saturday meetings in Sydney.
He made that five in a row when coming out and winning The Galaxy (1100m) at Group 1 level on March 19, thrilling the racing world.
Over his five-week reign, Shelby Sixtysix’s official handicap rating gone from 62 to 103.
Tommy Berry regains the ride on the in-form galloper next week. He couldn’t make the weight to ride the sprinter in The Galaxy, where Robbie Dolan filled in for a fairytale win.
Williams said that the horse pulled up so well from his Galaxy win that he believes he owes it to the horse and his fellow part-owners to run him in the TJ Smith Stakes.
“This is the best he has pulled up from his last five runs,” the trainer said.
“When he won the Maurice McCarten Stakes, he really knew he had gone around. After his second to Eduardo, he laid down for a couple of days.
“But after last Saturday, he came home and licked his feed bin, he’s been bright and energetic, it’s amazing how well he has come through that race.”
With more rain expected leading up to April 2, Randwick will likely be in the soft-to-heavy range. With Shelby Sixtysix’s success coming on Heavy 9 or 10 tracks, connections would be happy to see some fall from the sky.
“It seems the stars have been aligning since his Highway win,” Williams said.
“The horse is enjoying racing on these wet tracks, his confidence is up and he’s never been fitter.
“We have to give Shelby his chance in the TJ Smith or we would be sitting at home thinking ‘what if?’
“This is like a huge lottery ticket and we are keen to have a go.”