A strong 13-horse field has been named to contest Melbourne’s first stakes race of the season in the Group 3 $150,000 2012 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Topping the weights at 60kg is British import Midas Touch who will be ridden by globetrotting jockey Craig Williams from the inside barrier.
The Robert Hickmott-trained six-year-old finished 12th in the race last year in what was his first start on Australian soil but went on to place in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes and the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.
Also stepping out for Hickmott for the first time this preparation is German import Seville who has had two starts since arriving in Australia.
The son of Galileo finished ninth in the Listed Anniversary Vase at Caulfield first-up in March before improving to run third in the Group 3 Lee Stakes at Morphetville.
Having their second run since returning from injury will be last-start winner Golden Archer who was originally being planned to head to Royal Ascot alongside stablemate Black Caviar.
Injury put an end to Peter Moody’s international ambitions with the four-year-old but he returned in promising fashion in July when winning the Monjon Australia Handicap by two lengths at Flemington.
Green Birdie will be running third-up after returning from a long stint in Hong Kong and he showed signs that he may still have some good races left in him last start when fourth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes.
A Group 1 winner in the 2012 Krisflyer International Sprint, Green Birdie will be ridden by Damien Oliver from barrier two.
Consistent gelding Zamorar will be out to record the first stakes victory of his career after placing in his last three starts.
Also set to line up in the Aurie’s Star Handicap are last-start winner Shanghai Warrior and Darley runner Offenders.
Betting will be open shortly on the Aurie’s Star Handicap and bookmaker.com.au will have great prices on the Melbourne feature.
Sign up today to give your spring betting a boost and be rewarded with their huge $300 bonus bet offer!
Aurie’s Star Handicap 2012 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||0x00338x5x||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||1||60kg||110|
|2||47x08x0x74||GREEN BIRDIE (NZ)||Tony Vasil||Damien Oliver||2||58.5kg||107|
|3||202234x94x||SEVILLE (GER)||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||9||58kg||106|
|4||1114x219x1||GOLDEN ARCHER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||4||56kg||102|
|5||600x55078x||SOUND JOURNEY||Peter Gelagotis||Dean Yendall||11||54kg||95|
|6||14×1421232||ZAMORAR||David Bourne||Craig Newitt||8||54kg||95|
|7||215x3080x8||OFFENDERS||Peter Snowden||Chris Symons||10||54kg||92|
|8||x58103371x||ULUNDI||Pat Carey||Damian Lane (a)||7||54kg||87|
|9||2x12116x31||SHANGHAI WARRIOR||Pat Hyland||TBA||5||54kg||80|
|10||2120x915x2||BALZEUS||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Danny Nikolic||6||54kg||78|
|11||541135x3x||SIERRA NEVADA (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||TBA||12||54kg||75|
|12||174x24081x||TWILIGHTING||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Dwayne Dunn||3||54kg||74|
|13||321x16x||SYSMO (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Michael Walker||13||54kg||71|