The anticipation for this year's Cox Plate was particularly high thanks to a star studded lineup headlined by It's A Dundeel, Puissance De Lune and Fiorente.
Even with the withdrawal of early favourite Atlantic Jewel just a handful of days prior, thirteen group winners (including seven Group 1 winners) lined up for the last race at Moonee Valley on Saturday afternoon for their chance to make history.
At 5.43pm, history WAS made, but not by any of the thirteen stars. It was the fourteenth runner, an emergency who snuck into the field, a 3 year old colt with an apprentice jockey,and most suprisingly a maiden, who rewrote the record books!
Shamus Award stunned the racing world by leading all the way in Australasia's biggest WFA event, not only taking out the Cox Plate but winning his first race ever!
The Danny O'Brien-trained colt, having his 10th start, held off a fast finishing Happy Trails to win by 0.1 lengths. Carrying 9.5 kilograms less than most the field, Shamus Award took advantage, slipping away in the short Valley straight and holding on by the narrowest of margins.
"Today we just got our chance to get out there, make our own luck and just show what a good colt this is", O'Brien said.
It was the first time a maiden had lined up in the Cox Plate since the Bart Cummings-trained Oxberry Way ran in 1984. He started at 200-1 and ran last in a field of 14.
Shamus Award started a relatively short $21, due in part to the strong lead up runs he'd had in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes and Group 1 Caulfield Guineas. In both races, the 3 year old had struck trouble and still finished off very strongly.
"He could have easily been a Guineas winner and a Cox Plate winner but we're pretty happy with the Cox Plate", O'Brien joked after the race.
Winning jockey Chad Schoefield, riding in his first Cox Plate, was terrific, taking his mount to the lead and controlling the race from the front.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but it's a fantastic feeling", the son of jockey Glyn Schofield said.
"I've wanted to get a Group 1 really badly, and what a way to do it in the Cox Plate".
Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente was caught three and four-wide for most of the early going, but was able to battle on gamely to capture third place, just half a length behind the winner.
Foreteller continued his strong Spring campaign, finishing a further length back in fourth.
Favourite It's A Dundeel made his move before the turn but couldn't go on with it, finishing six lengths back in 8th spot.
Puissance De Lune felt the pressure, dropping back during the closing stages to finish more than 10 lengths behind the winner.
It was a fairytale reminiscent of So You Think in the 2009 Cox Plate, although the now champion colt had 2 wins under his belt before contesting the big one.
Shamus Award made his racing debut exactly one year ago, finishing third in th Inglish 2YO race at Moonee Valley. After a positive run, few would have suspected it would take a year for him to win his first race. But even fewer would have expected that first win to be in the Cox Plate. History made.