On Saturday Sydney horseman Anthony Cummings will shoot for back-to-back wins in the South Australian Derby 2012 at Morphettville Racecourse, his headline hopeful being smart Savabeel gelding Strike The Stars.
Twelve months ago Cummings took out the Adelaide three-year-olds’ classic with Shadows In The Sun and this year he is back having nominated four from his Randwick stables in the $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m).
Heading Cummings’ SA Derby assault is Strike The Stars, the youngster well tested at elite level.
Winner of the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill last September, this time in they have raced five times the last four of which were in Group 1 company.
After an eye-catching second to star filly Mohseen in the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemignton Strike the Stars finished seventh to Mosheen in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) and fifth to Laser Hawk in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Last time out on April 14 Craig Williams jumped in the saddle and guided them to a close fourth when beaten one and three quarter lengths by upset winner Ethiopia in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
Williams will not be aboard on Saturday, however, with Dwayne Dunn tipped to take over the mount.
Cummings is confident that Strike The Stars will step up to the 2500-metres, handle the left way of racing without issue on Saturday, and be a competitive force in the SA Derby.
“His work since the Derby has been excellent,” Cummings said.
“He recovers extremely well from his races and I think he has to be among the top three chances.
“The only run he’s had in the reverse direction was probably the best run of his preparation so I’m confident on that score.”
Strike The Stars could also be Brisbane bound this season with Cummings considering a run in the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 9th, saying a SA Derby run would not rule him out of the Queensland feature.
“There is a chance he could run in both,” Cummings said.
“The reality is this is the easiest racing he will have over the next couple of years.
“The racing will get tougher not easier when he steps up to weight-for-age.”
Cummings’ other South Australian nominees for 2012 are Fastnet Rock gelding Fortunefivehundred who looks unlikely of making the field sitting 45th in the order of entry, Outlaw Prince (35th) who ran a disappointing seventh in the Frank Packer Plate last Saturday, and Imperial Grand (22nd).
It is shaping up as a top class edition of the SA Derby with other big name entries including Leon Corstens’ improver Zabeelionaire; Gai Waterhouse’s ultra-consistent Frank Packer Plate winner Fat Al; Schweppes Oaks third placed filly Essence; and last Saturday’s SA Chairman’s Stakes Trifecta of Heaven’s Riches, Alcohol and Cornell.
The 2012 South Australian Derby final field is set to be released later today with Races.com.au to publish the full acceptances and barriers.
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