My records (from original newspaper accounts) for the latter part of the champion Shannon's career are as follows.
It was then announced on Thursday October 9 that Shannon was to be sent to America in a week or two to race there in the colours of W J Smith. His trainer Frank Dalton was not free to go to the US but Barney O'Brien would be given a chance to continue his association with the horse but turned it down to remain with his family in Sydney. No announcement was made as to whether Darby Munro would ride Shannon in the States. Smith said, " Shannon will reach US in plenty of time to acclimatise and be ready for the new season which begins in January and is in full swing a few months later." Smith had been waiting on boat accommodation and this was offered a few days ago.
Shannon's record in Australia was 24 starts for 14 wins, 6 seconds and only 4 unplaced races. His total prize-money was £18,987/10/-.
He raced more as a 2yo than at any other time. That was the only season he ran in the autumn.
From now on the Shannon story became one of travelling to the Sates and of acclimitisation in his new surroundings, with a new training regime and new jockeys with their different styles and tactics. Although he did not prove to be an out-and-our champion under these new condidtions, Shannon accquited himsel well. There were a problem over the registration of Shannon in the American Stud Book. The problem arose form three English mares who came to Hobart in 1826, the mares were Spaewife, Cutty Sark and Fortune Teller. Fortune Teller died on the journey out from England, After the arrival of the living mares and the dead mare there was confusion for a number of years as to who was whom. A foaling of Spaewife was attributed to the dead Fortune Teller. Shannon descended from Spaewife and this foal. The confusion was eventually cleaned up for the Australian and New Zealand Stud books but had not in 1947 been accepted by the English or US Stud books.. So of his 4096 ancestors, back 12 generations, there was doubt about two of them in that 12th generation! This problem was eventually overcome at the NYJC meeting of February 12. In mid-Januray a Neil McCarthy, a lawyer from Los Angeles purchased Shannon intending to race him for an indefinite period and then retire him to the stud.
Shannon commenced racing in California in mid February but at first failed to live up to expectations. Given more time to settle in to his surroundings, he resumed in May at the Bay Medows meeting and won there over 9.5f. Later that month Shannon won over 8.5f at Hollywood Park. After a couple of subsequent failures, Sahnnon took out the prestigious 10f Hollywood Gold Cup on July 17. In this race Shannon carved out the distance in 2 1.3 (at that time the Australian record for the distance was 2.1.75). The prize-money won by Shannon was £21,125. This took his American winnings to £34,525, with 3 victories. His lifetime winnings were now £53,512/10/-. Shannon carried 8.4 in a field of 9. He won by 2 lengths from On Trust, with Othaverry, 1.5 lengths away third. Shannon was ridden by John Adams. The horse broke fourth, galloped easily without the whip for the first six furlongs, moved up on On Trust at the home stretch, took the lead a furlong from the post and, under the whip, came away for a clear win. McCarthy was not present to see his horse win; he was on his way to the Olympics in London. George Moore watched the race. He commented "Shannon looked in much better condition today than when I was here before. It was a marvellous performance by the jockey and the horse." Trainer Willie Molter said "I think the track today would have suited Shannon." The press comment was unanimous in its praise of Shannon. A wek later Shannon ran third over 13f. Shannon had then won £33,500 at the Hollywood Park meeting and was the leading prize-winner.
1948-49. Now racing in the United States, Shannon had three starts this season before being retired to the stud. Again the champion displayed his quality. In late September at the Golden Gate meeting he carved out a brilliant victory over 9f in world record time of 1.47.6. Shannon got away slowly and was not called until the back straight. His stable-mate On Trust led early in the race. Shannon spurted ahead in the straight.
On Monday October 23 the SMH reported an even greater win by Shannon in the US. He had equalled the world record time in winning the £23,437 Golden Gate H'cp of 10 furlongs. He ran the time in 1 59.8, breaking the US record of 2 minutes flat. It was quite a few years before that mark was broken in Australia. Jack Westrope again rode Shannon. He won by 2 lengths from See-Tee-See with Stepfather 3rd. His stablemate On Trust finished 4th, Shannon’s winnings of £19,062 took his American earnings to £60,409 and his total earnings to £77,396. Thus win made Shannon Australia's then greatest stake-winner, surpassing Phar Lap’s £66,738.
Newspaper headlines about Shannon were "powerful Australian cannonball" and "7yo bullet from Down Under". Owner McCarthy said 'I only need say that his victory a week back and this latest miraculous win is a complete justification of Shannon. I hope all his critics are at last satisfied." Shannon broke well, was in the clear on the outside all the way. He was fifth or sixth going down the back, moved up to be third at the 3/4 mile mark and there was "just breezing". His jockey said "He could have gone to the front at any time. When I did ask him really to move he responded immediately and we came around the leaders on the outside. When he was straightened up for home and in the clear, I took him on to the rails and he just galloped on in."
Shannon now had 5 wins in 17 US starts. There was one more start for the Australian champion. In early November he finished third, a neck behind the winner Please Me, at Taniform, San Francisco in the Marchbank H'cp. The race was won by Please Me form Tropical Sun. Shannon finished a neck behind the winner. He led after the turn but was run down.
There was talk of a showdown between Shannon and the young American three-year-old champion Citation in the Taniform Handicap but Shannon was handicapped to give 4lb to Citation and his connection thought this was not to Shannon’s advantage. McCarthy believed the horse had been given too much weight. Shannon was now retired and sent to a stud in Kentucky. The champion was sold to a syndicate: 30 shares, each worth £3,125. McCarthy certainly had made a killing on Shannon.
A nation-wide US poll rated Shannon the outstanding horse of the year in the four-year-old and over class.