Peter Morgan’s improving galloper Dusty Star impressed connections in a track gallop this week, their performance and progression earning them a first-up run in this Saturday’s Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield.
General Nediym gelding Dusty Star emerged as one of last autumn’s most promising three-year-olds, the consistent sprinter-miler winning back-to-back races in Victoria including the Group 2 D’Urban Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in February.
Morgan had the horse set on the Australian Guineas path, but Dusty Star failed to back up well after their D’Urban Stakes win, finishing seventh to Bullbars a week later in a taxing Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) run.
Pressing onto the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5, Dusty Star could only manage to finish nine and a half lengths away 12th behind upset winner Shamrocker.
“The Guineas was a bit of an afterthought and we hadn’t really planned it properly for him,” Morgan explained.
“It only became part of his program when he won the Group Two race at Caulfield but then he had a gutbuster in the Hayes on that very windy day at Flemington and I think that was the end of him.
“He shouldn’t have run in the Guineas but it was a Group One race for three-year-olds.”
Spelled after their Australian Guineas disappointment, Dusty Star has come back better than expected and after showing great natural progress in work, will kick-off their spring carnival campaign this weekend in the $125,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).
“His original program was the Liston first-up but he has come to hand reasonably quickly so I thought maybe he should have a run on Saturday ahead of that,” Morgan said.
The $200,000 Group 2 JJ Liston Stakes (1400m) is this year registered as the P.B. Lawrence Stakes, the weight-for-age contest to run at Caulfield on August 13.
Morgan is looking forward to the Lawrence Stakes next month, believing it to be the perfect hunting ground for an in-form sprinter taking on resuming stayers.
“The stayers coming back, they all flop out of the gates and tag along, so if I have him fit he can roll along and be hard for them to pick them up,” Morgan said.
“He might not be up to the better ones when they come along later on, but he might be able to pick up one of the good races early.”
Top jockey Craig Williams partnered Dusty Star for their latest track gallop, and is optimistic over their chances on Saturday.
Williams was aboard Dusty Star for their D’Urban Stakes win last season, which is the horse’s only start at Caulfield before the Bletchingly Stakes.
To date Dusty Star has started 15 times for four wins and six minor placings earning over $222,000 in prize money.
Saturday will be their first start over a distance less than 1400 metres since December last year, all of Dusty Star’s career wins having been over 1300 metres of more, but Morgan is convinced the 1200 metre sprint distance of the Bletchingly will suit.
“Early days I thought he needed a mile or longer but the way he looks at the moment he looks like he might be a sprinter – a 1200 metre, 1400 metre horse,’ Morgan said.
“Certainly he is working that well it is suggestive that he could sprint well fresh.”
One horse that has dropped out of Bletchingly Stakes’ contention following acceptances is the Peter Snowden-trained Pinwheel.
The Lonhro five-year-old, winner of the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm last-start in June, didn’t perform in trackwork as well as expected on Tuesday morning.
Snowden has decided to keep the galloper in Sydney and will save Pinwheel for the $125,000 Group 3 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 6.
“He won’t be going to Melbourne, he’ll trial here on Friday and I’ll run him in the Missile Stakes on Saturday week,” Snowden said.
“He had a good blow this morning and he’s beatable (on Saturday).
“He’ll trial on Friday and be all the better for it.”
2011 Bletchingly Stakes Final Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||6X47522404||STANZOUT||Colin Davies||Dwayne Dunn||2||58.5kg||99|
|2||X10X540X45||GOLD TRAIL||Gary Portelli||Michael Rodd||4||58.5kg||104|
|3||234536X151||SECRET FLYER||Mark Young||Glen Boss||6||58.5kg||103|
|4||X61634X116||UXORIOUS||Matthew Williams||Dean Yendall||9||58.5kg||99|
|5||3133X0000X||DELAYEDREACTION (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Steven King||10||58.5kg||89|
|6||47X2731111||SECOND EFFORT||Clinton McDonald||Danny Nikolic||7||58.5kg||94|
|7||411221170X||DUSTY STAR||Peter Morgan||Craig Williams||3||58kg||95|
|8||1X1428X112||MID SUMMER MUSIC||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8||56.5kg||94|
|9||110X272322||RUE MAPLE||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||5||56.5kg||89|
|10||1X2720X511||LADY MAHLER||Clinton McDonald||Craig Newitt||1||56.5kg||82|