On Saturday Peter Moody will give his consistent mare Sino Eagle the chance to score her maiden black-type win and break a decade long drought for the females in the 2014 Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington.
Since the race was elevated to stakes status in 2005 the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) has been dominated by the boys with male horses winning all nine editions.
Moody is hoping he can change that this year when he saddles-up Casino Prince five-year-old Sino Eagle, a $6.50 chance through Ladbrokes.com.au, from barrier 11 in the 13-starter field.
She’ll be ridden by a female hoop too with Ms Linda Meech staying on after guiding her to victory last start for the mare’s first-up win in a mares-only 1200m race at Caulfield on July 26.
Sino Eagle caught the eye that day winning by an easy two lengths in her first run in over four months to make it five city wins leaving Moody no choice but to chase something classier with her.
“What do you do with a mare like that? You have got to chase black type,” Moody told AAP.
“She’s come off her first-up run well but she’s got a bit of black type so we have got to build on it.”
During the autumn she stepped up to Group 3 company in her first stakes’ assignment finishing a competitive third behind Five All in the Frances Tressday Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
She returns to the track then and Group 3 class on Saturday looking to keep her record this time in flawless over a distance she’s got a great profile over (6-3-1-1).
In early Aurie’s Star Handicap betting the Joe Pride-trained top weight Tiger Tees (59.5kg) leads the odds at $3.80 after opting for this race over the Missile Stakes in Sydney where they would have run on a firmer track.
The other headline hopefuls include the David Bourne-trained Zamorar coming off a first-up Flemington win, Tony McEvoy’s seven-year-old veteran Mr Chard who is also second-up here and Shanghai Warrior.
Pat Hyland’s Cranbourne-based Shanghai Warrior is one of two previous Aurie’s Star Handicap winners looking to make it a double this year, the 2012 winner joined by the defending champ Broken for Darren Weir.
While Shanghai Warrior has been racing well including their last start third in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final over the same track and distance as the Aurie’s, Michelle Payne’s mount Broken will need to lift their game having run eighth in that race before their last start fifth when beating home just one other runner at Moonee Valley last Saturday.
Also in the mix is import Crackerjack King, a $26 chance, who debuts down under for David Hayes & Tom Daberning.
The Shamardal stallion arrived in Hayes’ care with tendon injuries and so hasn’t raced in two years but at their best won the 2011 Group 2 Italian Derby (2200m) and the 2012 Group 1 Presidente Della Repubblica (2000m).
While it’s been a long time getting Crackerjack King race fit, Hayes’ new co-trainer Dabernig is confident they can be competitive in their opening season down under as they chase a start in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“He can now have an old-style preparation with a first-up run in the Aurie’s Star,” Dabernig said after their first-up run was bought forward one week earlier than planned.
“Many good horses have started their campaigns in the race in the past.”
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