Two years ago Shanghai Warrior celebrated a win in Flemington’s 2014 Aurie’s Star Handicap and while a lot of water has passed under the bridge since their trainer Pat Hyland is hoping they can repeat the feat in what he says would be an ironic result on the weekend.
Former Melbourne Cup winning jockey turned Cranbourne-based trainer, Hyland has high hopes for his Elvstroem six-year-old in Saturday’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) where Ladbrokes.com.au are offering money back up to a $50 bonus bet if your selection runs second.
It’s a race down to 12 starters following the early scratching of Pillar Of Creation and one Shanghai Warrior pays $6 to win through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Markets are led by the Joe Pride-trained The Galaxy winner Tiger Tees ($3.40) who must overcome the 59.5kg top weight.
Hyland’s runner meanwhile gets in on the 54kg minimum, the same weight they carried to victory in the 2012 Aurie’s Star Handicap.
That victory over Golden Archer was actually their last win with a long two years without success having passed.
They bowed a tendon during a run at Flemington last March and were forced to spend over a year on the sidelines recovering.
Things looked promising in May 66 weeks later when they won an 800m trial at their home track before being saved for a June 14 return in a heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series.
Runner-up that day to The Thief they were also third to Vain Queen in another heat of the same series a fortnight later before finishing a competitive third behind Nearest To Pin in the $100,000 black-type final on July 12.
The horse has an obvious affinity for the track with two wins and four minor placings from their eight Flemington starts, a record Hyland hopes will work in their favour on the weekend when Ben Melham rides them from barrier eight.
“He has had three runs and he has done all right and he won it two years ago; it would be ironical if he did it again,” Hyland said. “He is going nicely and I expect him to run pretty well.”
As for the track conditions this weekend, some trainers have opted for Flemington over Randwick because the former is tipped to be soft going, but for Hyland it makes no difference.
“He handles them all, so there’s no big hassle,” he said.
Hyland admitted he hadn’t really studied the Aurie’s Star Handicap form this year either but that the competition will need to be at their best to beat his horse at his best on the day.
“I know how he goes and he goes good, so they will have to go better to beat him,” he said.
To back Shanghai Warrior in the Aurie’s Star Handicap at the best price visit Ladbrokes.com.au and don’t forget, if you do your dough and your runner finishes second best you’ll get a money back bonus bet up to $50 to soften the blow!