Shelby Sixtysix critics ‘simply don’t understand’

Shelby Sixtysix with trainer Danny Williams. Picture: Getty Images

Shelby Sixtysix with trainer Danny Williams. Picture: Getty Images

By Ben Dorries
02:30pm • 04 October 2022

Group 1 cult hero horse Shelby Sixtysix has been beaten a long way in three runs this campaign but trainer Danny Williams has bristled at criticism from “armchair experts”.

“I have told the owners that we are going to cop a lot of criticism because the critics simply don’t understand what we are having to deal with in regards to this horse,” Williams told News Corp.

“You have all the armchair experts telling you what’s going on and criticising you, without them understanding the background.

“A lot of people have been following this horse and we would love to write something and send it out there on social media to inform people, but it can be fraught with danger doing that.

“If you put it into reality, we reached a level of Group 1 racing last preparation on the back of 16 or 18 runs in 20 weeks or so.

“Now that we are racing at a top level, it takes him so many runs to get fit that he looks like he’s been running ordinary, but he’s really not.

“It’s difficult to make an assessment based on his last three runs in mini-Everest style fields.

“He’s just knocking up, he’s been competitive to a point in his races this time in, but then he’s just run out of puff.”

Shelby Sixtysix provided one of racing’s great fairytale stories earlier this year when going from being beaten at the Sapphire Coast on a Sunday in January to producing a stunning win in the Group 1 The Galaxy in March.

APAC Sports Pictures of the Week - 2022, March 21

Shelby Sixtysix won the Group 1 The Galaxy in March. Picture: Getty Images


One of the secrets to his jaw-dropping success was his unique and possibly unprecedented racing campaign which included racing on five consecutive Saturdays and eight times in nine weeks.

It’s a method he is going back to with Shelby Sixtysix now set to race on three consecutive Saturdays.

After finishing last in The Premiere Stakes last Saturday, Williams will race his stable star in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday followed seven days later by the Group 3 Sydney Sprint on Everest day at Randwick.

“The races so far have really been barrier trials for him as he just hasn’t been fit, it’s a shame to waste runs but it is what it is,” Williams said.

“There weren’t any races there for him for a while and we ran out of time to get him fit.

“We are finding it very frustrating and very difficult to get enough fitness under his belt.

“We are very restricted with what we are able to do with him, within a couple of days of his races he kicks back and he’s ready for a bit of work.

“But unfortunately you can’t do much with him.

Sydney Racing

Danny Williams says it hasn’t been easy getting Shelby Sixtysix fit for racing. Picture: Getty Images.



“He’s not a horse who copes with very much work away from raceday, even if you trot and canter him he can jar up.

“Even on the treadmill he still jars up.

“We tried to get a special gallop in between races at Rosehill the other day but there was a cut-off they had they stopped exhibition gallops between races.

“We are back to some sort of better system now backing him up three times in a row.”

Williams is doing a rain dance ahead of Shelby Sixtysix’s Melbourne mission and there is up to 15mm of rain expected in the city on Friday.

He says the sprinter will be much more competitive this Saturday but the Sydney Stakes had always been the primary target.

“It hasn’t helped that we haven’t had a fit horse, but our main aim has always been the Sydney Stakes,” Williams said.

“It is not the case that this horse is not going to be competitive anymore.

“He was just simply always going to need runs to get fit until the Sydney Stakes.”

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