Last spring’s Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar is likely to miss the riches of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and target the Australian Cup in Melbourne with trainer Anthony Cummings unhappy that the 2013 Randwick Guineas will be run this year at Warwick Farm Racecourse.
With New South Wale’s premier course Royal Randwick undergoing a massive grandstand refurbishment and track upgrade many of the early autumn features of the Sydney Carnival will be held at Warwick Farm including what was originally the main target for Hotel Grand three-year-old Fiveandahalfstar – the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 16.
It is a disappointing situation for Cummings who had planned to run Fiveandahalfstar in the feature having won the inaugural edition of the Randwick Guineas with the horse’s sire Hotel Grand back in 2006.
“Warwick Farm horses have too much of an advantage on their home track,” Cummings said.
“It’s a massive disadvantage for visitors and this race is too big a deal to ignore that.
“I understand the reasons for the move and I’m not being critical but you’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt and the race being at Warwick Farm is a problem for us.”
A winner of three of their 15 starts to date, Fiveandahalfstar rose through the ranks rapidly in their last three runs last campaign winning a 3YO maiden at Canterbury and then a Benchmark 72 at Rosehill before travelling interstate for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Relishing the step up in distance the young gun caused a boilover Derby result beating a decent field by one and a half lengths as a $40 roughie.
They won’t be found at those odds during the autumn however with Cummings indicating their new season goal could now be the $1 million Group 1 Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 9.
“It’s my job to find a way around that,” Cummings said speaking of the dilemma of the Randwick Guineas running at ‘The Farm’.
“It’s called Melbourne.
“He’ll resume on February 9 in the Group 2 race (Autumn Stakes) over the 1400 metres (at Caulfield).
“There’s an 1800-metre race two weeks after that (the Group 2 autumn Classic) and then he could go for the Australian Cup.
“Obviously the alternative is to bring him back to Sydney for the three-year-old Triple Crown but it’s more likely he’ll stay in Melbourne.”
Cummings said that if they did go to Melbourne Fiveandahalfstar would return to Sydney in time for the $500,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 30.
Not having raced since their Derby upset back in November, Fiveandahalfstar had their first official trial of 2013 at Randwick on Thursday finishing fourth to Fulminate over 740m in the morning’s fastest heat.
“He wasn’t out to do a real lot but I was pleased with what he did,” Cummings said of the hitout.
“They ran the fastest time for the distance on the day and he did easy.
“He’ll trial again in 12 days but he certainly looks a better horse this time in.”