The Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) is set to be a high-class race this Saturday at Caulfield as it marks the return of Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Protectionist against classy rivals the likes of Happy Trails, Mourinho, and Au Revoir.
The race will also be a test for five-year-old gelding Star Rolling, who has lost his form of late.
Star Rolling won the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up in the spring but has finished outside the placings in all five of his subsequent starts. Following a 12 week spell, the gelding ran in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) first-up on February 14. He was around midfield and on the fence before getting back five lengths at the 500m mark. He managed to hold his ground in the concluding stages but finished six lengths off winner Dissident in tenth place.
Co-trainer Peter Morgan for one is perplexed by the loss of form, questioning whether the gelding has the ability to compete at the top level of racing anymore.
“I’m confused – he’s not going as well as we thought he was and maybe he just doesn’t want to do it at that level anymore,” an honest Peter Morgan told Racing Network on Thursday morning.
“The biggest issue is that he has pulled a couple of muscles twice in races and he could be thinking about it.
“He did it first in the Cranbourne Cup then the Mackinnon Stakes – perhaps he doesn’t want to let down anymore because he’s thinking it’s going to hurt – I just don’t know.
“We’re trying different things and working on it and we’ll know a lot more after he runs in this race on Saturday,” Morgan said.
Star Rolling has seen his 2015 Peter Young Stakes price ease out from $19 to $21 after drawing the second-widest gate. The horse is nominated for key autumn races including the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), Doncaster Mile (1600m), and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) however whether he continues on the path to these high-class races will be determined by his result in Saturday’s race.
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