Group racing returns to Flemington Racecourse this Saturday with the Aurie’s Star Handicap 2013 where the top-rated nominee for the spring kick-off is former Perth champion Luckygray.
Often a nice indicator for sprinters heading onto bigger things during the annual Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) has drawn 20 nominees.
Bradbury’s Luck six-year-old Luckygray, previously prepared by Gino Poletti, is the highest rated entry due to have their first start for new trainer Robert Smerdon.
A dual Group 1 winner in WA, Luckygray hasn’t raced since their credible fourth to super mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 22.
They return to Melbourne racing on the weekend preparing for a big spring where they will be aimed at the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Guineas Day, October 12.
Other highly rated Aurie’s Star Handicap nominations then include Tony Gollan’s 2012 The Galaxy winner Temple Of Boom who won this race two years back, last start winner Riziz from Adelaide and Ferlax.
Zariz five-year-old Riziz has won their past two on the trot most recently securing the Listed All Victorian Sprint Final win at this track and distance on July 6.
Ferlax meanwhile runs first-up after an autumn – winter spell.
The Pentire four-year-old was in top form during their last prep winning the Group 1 Australian Guineas down the Flemington mile.
They failed to back up in the Randwick Guineas over the same distance at Warwick Farm two weeks later however when a distant seventh to It’s A Dundeel.
Other notable hopefuls then include the Peter Snowden-trained Redoute’s Choice stallion Chiaramonte last seen winning the Listed Derby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in March, Ballarat galloper Tuscan Fire who was a failure in the Adelaide Cup over the tow miles last start, and the consistent Zamorar who was third in this race behind winner Shangahi Warrior last year.
Check out the full 2013 Aurie’s Star Handicap nominations below with final acceptances to be taken on Wednesday.
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2013 Aurie’s Star Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 10/08/2013
|1||ABOUT SQUARE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||68|
|2||BARON DOURO (NZ)||Patrick Payne||75|
|4||CAVALLO NERO||Nick Harnett||76|
|6||DEHERE HUNTER||Kane Harris||74|
|7||DRAW FORWARD||Mick Price||86|
|8||FALCENT (NZ)||Doug Harrison||74|
|9||FERLAX (NZ)||Jim Conlan||103|
|10||HOTHAM HEIGHTS||Luke Oliver||88|
|11||KEEP COOL (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||94|
|12||LADYS ANGEL||Danny O’Brien||97|
|14||MELIORA||Peter G Moody||89|
|17||SHADOWFAX (NZ)||Luke Oliver||89|
|18||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||106|
|19||TUSCAN FIRE||Dan O’Sullivan||98|