A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
After getting injured during their The BMW win last April, the Anthony Cummings-trained champion Fiveandahalfstar is set to undergo scans to see whether they’ve recovered in time for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid later this year.
Cummings confirmed the Hotel Grand four-year-old would get scans done this week to reveal whether they’ll be back chasing more Group 1 glory this spring, returning to work immediately, or be saved for an autumn return in 2015.
“The scan will give us an idea of the rate of recovery and whether he’s up for a preparation right now or whether we need to wait,” Cummings told Racing Victoria.
“Best case is he’s ready head straight back into work.
“Failing that he’ll be ready for the autumn I suppose.”
Fiveandahalfstar is already a dual Group 1 hero, the $2.6 million earner breaking their Group 1 duck in the 2012 Victoria Derby over the 2500m at Flemington.
They returned in the autumn last year and ran four consecutive second placings including two at Group 1 level when narrowly beaten in the Australian Cup by Super Cool and the Ranvet Stakes by Foreteller.
It was back in the winners’ stall on Golden Slipper Day however when they broke the frustrating succession to defeat Silent Achiever in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
They haven’t been able to race since however having been injured in that last run and suffering two subsequent, separate injuries further delaying their much awaited return to the turf.
Cummings also confirmed his up-and-coming Drago was gearing up for a spring return, the Danehill Dancer three-year-old last seen running sixth to Polanski in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) in early November.
Having undergone a gelding operation since then, the Juvenile Stayer winner from last winter in Sydney has also been recovering from injury but looks fit and ready for the spring.
“He strained a ligament in the back of his pastern and it just needed a couple of months to settle down but it seems OK,” Cummings said.
“We’ll just take him along slowly and hopefully he gets back and can have a good spring.
“We settled on any specific targets for him yet but we’ll nominate him for everything and just see how he’s going on the way through.”
Also in line to represent the stable during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival are the likes of Group 2 winning Not A Single Doubt filly Villa Verde and Lucky Owners colt Thunder Fantasy.
Villa Verde was last seen running fourth behind Driefontein in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide on April 26 while rising four-year-old Thunder Fantasy failed in the wet when 13th to Criterion in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) last time out.
Prior to that they were in top form though running third to Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in the Australian Guineas and improving on an eighth to Fiorente in the Australian Cup against open age company to finish second to subsequent Derby champ Criterion in the Rosehill Guineas.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au over the coming months for all the latest on the spring majors.
Our preferred online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au are already offering juicy ante-post markets on some of those features including the Melbourne Cup 2014 so make sure you check them out today!
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