Call Me Shamus chases second-straight win

Mathew Toogood
Trainer Phillip Stokes hopes Call Me Shamus can end his campaign on a winning note at Sandown

After deciding against a Sandown Guineas start for Call Me Shamus, trainer Phillip Stokes will send him to a midweek race hoping he can end his campaign with back-to-back city wins.

Call Me Shamus won a maiden at The Valley at his sixth start on November 1 and was entered for last Saturday's Group Two Sandown Guineas (1600m) won by Pretty Brazen.

He was scratched to be saved for Wednesday's Thoroughbred Club Handicap (1600m) on the Sandown Lakeside circuit.

"We just thought there were a couple of horses in the Guineas that were just a bit better-performed than him," Stokes said.

"Although the race was a bit low on numbers, there was a bit of quality there and probably as it turned out it might have turned out to be a blessing.

"I think he will get to a high level, but he's just not there yet."

Stokes wants to try to take Call Me Shamus through his grades and believes Wednesday's benchmark-64 race is a logical stepping stone before the three-year-old has a spell.

While Stokes says there are a couple of nice horses in Wednesday's race, he believes Call Me Shamus can make his presence felt.

"I think he'll definitely be competitive. I think the Sandown track will be a lot more to his liking than the Moonee Valley track," he said.

Call Me Shamus is one of two runners at the meeting for Stokes, the other being Trogir who resumes in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap after having a bone chip removed from a fetlock.

Both horses will be ridden by apprentice Thomas Stockdale who recently outrode his country claim and has an impressive strike rate for the Pakenham-based Stokes stable, with 10 wins from 15 rides.

Apprenticed to his uncle Shane Stockdale, the 20-year-old made his city debut at The Valley last Friday night with two seconds from five rides and has three rides at Wednesday's meeting.

His other mount is Maracaibo for trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young in the MRC 6 Month Membership Handicap.

"He's a Pakenham apprentice and he's been very good for us. He's ridden plenty of winners, especially at Pakenham for us," Stokes said.

"He rides trackwork for us so I'd love to be able to give him his first city winner."