2013 Aurie’s Star Handicap Field Announced

Former WA star Luckygray leads a top field of spring sprinters kicking off carnival campaigns in the Aurie’s Star Handicap 2013 down the Flemington straight in Melbourne this Saturday.


Luckygray is the top-weight of the 2013 Aurie's Star Handicap field this Saturday. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

Now prepared by Robert Smerdon in Victoria, for whom they debut for on the weekend, the dual Group 1 winning Luckygray will carry the 60kg top-weight when jumping from barrier nine of 11 in the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m).

Perth-bred Mark Zahra has picked up the ride on the Bradbury’s Luck six-year-old who was last seen running fourth to undefeated turf queen Black Caviar in the William Reid Stakes back in March.

“He (Zahra) rode Luckygray in trackwork this morning and in his previous work,” the Group 1 winning jockey’s racing manager Reece Murphy told The West Australian on Wednesday.

“He (Luckygray) is the class runner of the race and you’d expect him to be hitting the line hard.”

Smerdon is confident the 1200m won’t be too short for the middle-distance star first-up and also believes Flemington is the right course to start them off on.

If all goes well on Saturday Smerdon has named the $350,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 31 as the next race on Luckygray’s radar before their grand final goal is established.

“There are quite a few options for him,” Smerdon told AAP.

“After the Memsie we will decide a path beyond that. Once we see him in his first couple of runs we’ll have a better idea where he’s best placed.”

Following Luckygray in the Aurie’s Star Handicap field and weights is then the 2011 winner Temple Of Boom.

Drawing the ‘visitor’s gate’ 11, the Tony Gollan-trained Temple Of Boom hasn’t won a race since last year’s The Galaxy but will be looking to return to form this time in.

A seven-year-old son of Piccolo the Brisbane raider was last seen finishing dead last in the BTC Cup back home where the Heavy (9) track didn’t suit and will have 58kg on their back with Craig Williams in the saddle.

The three other Aurie’s Star Handicap hopefuls above the 54kg minimum are then Jim Conlan’s talented Australian Guineas winner Ferlax (56.5kg), Adelaide’s in-form Riziz (55kg) coming off a win in the All Victorian Sprint Final at this track and distance, and the Tony McEvoy-trained Pelicano (54.5kg) who also hails from SA.

See below for the full 2013 Aurie’s Star Handicap field, barriers, jockeys and weights.

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2013 Aurie’s Star Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw

Flemington Race 7 – 3:10pm (AEST) – 10/08/2013

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Br. Wgt. Hcp. Rating
1 40x121x84x LUCKYGRAY Robert Smerdon Mark Zahra 9 60kg 110
2 x550x7570x TEMPLE OF BOOM Tony Gollan Craig Williams 11 58kg 106
3 1x1117x FERLAX (NZ) Jim Conlan Stephen Baster 2 56.5kg 103
4 2390×16711 RIZIZ Ken Sweeney Chris Symons 3 55kg 100
5 x43251118x PELICANO Tony McEvoy Nicholas Hall 10 54.5kg 99
6 3232x0x294 ZAMORAR David Bourne Glen Boss 4 54kg 97
7 3150×36433 BROKEN Darren Weir 7 54kg 95
8 456411314x KEEP COOL (NZ) Danny O’Brien Damian Lane 8 54kg 94
9 5266×45102 DRAW FORWARD Mick Price Craig Newitt 6 54kg 86
10 20x53213x3 CAVALLO NERO Nick Harnett Peter Mertens 5 54kg 76
11 217×212591 FALCENT (NZ) Doug Harrison Dwayne Dunn 1 54kg 74