Jeff Dimery suspected the best was behind his galloper Sham I Am when the five-year-old departed Danny O’Brien’s Flemington stables last August.
The gelding, by Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress (O’Reilly x Volkrose), was also trained by O’Brien and raced by Dimery.
He bred Sham I Am at his Uluru Stud at Romsey from his mare Les Miserables which was later acquired by Rosemont Stud.
After beating home only four runners over 1000m at Dunkeld last November, Sham I Am raced a month later at The Valley and scored at odds of 50-1 for Kyneton trainer Ray Matthews.
The gelding scored again at The Valley over 1200m last Friday night.
Matthews, who is predominately a horse breaker, broke in both Shamexpress and Sham I Am.
Dimery, the CEO of Alinta Energy, sold Shamexpress to New Zealand’s Windsor Park after the stallion retired from the track with more than $1 million in prizemoney.
And he admits it’s been a surprise to see Sham I Am notch up two consecutive city wins to take his tally to five victories and two thirds from 15 starts.
“But don’t get me wrong, I am delighted,” Dimery said. “He is a little ripper.
“We raced the sire Shamexpress and then I bred this fellow and I owned his mum as well.
“Shamexpress stands at Windsor Park in New Zealand. Rodney and Gina Schick bought him off me and they are now life-long friends.
“I bred this fellow with one of the free returns I got.”
Dimery sent Les Miserables to Windsor Park to be covered by Shamexpress and the mare then returned to Victoria.
He gave the guys who raced Shamexpress with him free ownership in Sham I Am to keep “the dream running.”
“I send all my horses to Danny O’Brien and he said he was a little bit limited with his size and whatever and we ended up transferring him to Ray Matthews who is a good mate of mine,” Dimery said.
“He is a breaker at Romsey and breaks a lot of my horses in for me and is good family friend. We gave the horse to Ray, who is more of I wouldn’t call him a hobby trainer but he probably is, and he has just done wonders with the little fellow.”
Dimery also has a mare he bred, Button Express, which is also trained by O’Brien, by Shamexpress and is out of Umatilla mare, Whitehaven girl.
The four-year-old has raced 11 times for two wins and four seconds and her most recent run was at The Valley last November when she finished fourth, beaten less than half a length.
“We got some degree of confidence that she will win a stakes race for us,” Dimery said.
“She had a bone chip in her knee at Moonee Valley and ran second at Caulfield just before that. She is a beauty as well and she is raced by members of my family.”
Dimery said O’Brien bought Shamexpress in New Zealand for him, as well as dual Group 1 winning mare Shamrocker (O’Reilly x Bohemian Blues) which was later sold to Japan.
“I love the family, the O’Reilly connection and that’s sort of how it started,” he said.
“We had Shamrocker win the AJC Derby and the VRC Guineas and then Shamexpress won the Newmarket. We have had a great ride.”
Dimery said Shamexpress serves about 100 mares a season at Windsor Park and was the leading first season sire in 2018 and had about 12 per cent stakes winners to runners.
Dimery was a buyer and a seller at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
He sold a Star Witness colt out of his Group 2 winning mare Summer Sham (Not A Single Doubt x Hot Summer Night) which he bred and raced.
“We bought De Little Engine’s half-brother the other day, it’s a full brother to Miami Bound, which won the Oaks, off Gerry Harvey.
“We will race him with family and friends again.
“Gerry was hoping for $400,000 but we got her for $175,000 – so we reckon we got a bargain. It’s out of an Oaks winner and a full to an Oaks winner.”
The Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) winner De Little Engine (Encosta De Lago), which was also raced by Dimery and friends, and Miami Bound (Reliable Man) are both out of Harvey’s mare, Arapaho Miss (Danehill Dancer x Happy Heart).
For horse breaker and trainer Ray Matthews, Sham I Am is the only horse he races at the moment.
His core business is breaking, but he has been thrilled to get two wins out of the gelding.
“You learn about them and change a few things and I changed how I trained him a bit and putting the blinkers on him has helped,” Matthews said.
“To come to town and win two races with him shows that he is going well. We’ll see how he pulls up and we’ve got our own track at home, it’s a mile sand track, so he does all his slow work here and he only goes to Kyneton to gallop.
“We’ll let him get over this run and go from there. There is a sprint series at The Valley and we’ll probably look at that as it’s a track he likes.”
Matthews has been a professional breaker for 20 years.
He said Sham I Am was a quirky type and probably appreciates a quieter environment and being the only racehorse in the stables.