Racing steps up a notch at Flemington this weekend with the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors fast approaching, a bumper list of nominations taken for Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap 2015.
The feature race in Melbourne on Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) attracted a bumper 20 nominees with the Darren Weir-trained Trust In a Gust the top-rated hopeful.
Five-year-old Keep The Faith stallion Trust In A Gust won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) over the Caulfield mile to finish off his spring campaign last October and was last seen running second to Red Bomber in the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m) at the same track on April 18.
He’s got a great 1200m record (5-2-2-1) and is yet to finish worse than second first-up (4-2-2-0), two good statistics heading into Saturday’s showdown.
Another Group 1 winner racing first-up in the Aurie’s Star Handicap if accepted on the weekend is the Brisbane-trained Temple Of Boom from the stables of Tony Gollan.
The veteran nine-year-old son of Piccolo was last seen running fourth behind Srikandi in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 6, a race he was runner-up in the year before.
Temple Of Boom hasn’t won a race since last year’s Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) over 12 months ago, but he showed he was on track for a good campaign with a winning Randwick barrier trial last Friday morning over 840m.
After Trust In A Gust and Temple Of Boom the next highest rated Aurie’s Star Handicap nominees are the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Hong Kong import Dibayani who is making his debut down under and the Patrick Payne-trained Ihtsahymn who was last seen racing in Perth.
A host of smart sprinters come off some nice lead-up form into this year’s Aurie’s Star too including Peter Smith’s seven-year-old Play Master who won the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) over the same track and distance on July 11.
Also coming out of that race is the John Sadler-trained son of Lonhro Lonrockstar who crossed a half-length away second.
Other last start winners nominated for the Group 3 handicap include the Wez Hunter-trained Mio Dio who won over the 1200m at Flemington on July 18, returning local Sebring gelding Zebrinz and the Tony McEvoy-trained Shiraz.
Last year’s Canterbury Classic winner Barbed is also in the mix having last been seen running second to Rock Royalty in the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton and Reset four-year-old Disposition could make a return to racing in the Aurie’s Star.
Former WA galloper Disposition has won four of his eight starts to date with three second place finishes also on the record including his second to Moriarty in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
His latest run was at Caulfield in early February for a close fourth behind Watermans Bay in the Group 3 Victorian Handicap (1400m) and Saturday will be his second run at Flemington after a second to Australian Guineas winner Wandjina in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) in February.
Other notable entries include Robbie Griffiths’ six-year-old mare Nadeem Lass who has a solid Flemington place record (9-0-4-1) and eight-year-old Pago Rock.
The official Aurie’s Star Handicap 2015 field and barriers are out on Wednesday so before then make sure you head to Ladbrokes.com.au and open an account with the country’s leading online sportsbook!
2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 08/08/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|3||5x086x0057||BLACKIE (NZ)||G||8||Jarrod McLean||85|
|5||1x43352x0x||DIBAYANI (IRE)||G||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||104|
|6||111122x24x||DISPOSITION||G||4||Lee & Anthony Freedman||96|
|7||1216x||EARTHLY TIGER||G||5||Wez Hunter||69|
|9||42276x520x||LE BONSIR||G||8||Mick Price||95|
|10||238x597x46||LIVING ON A PRAYER||G||7||Mick Cerchi||84|
|12||467×336431||MIO DIO||G||5||Wez Hunter||76|
|13||6331332255||NADEEM LASS||M||6||Robbie Griffiths||89|
|14||808×025482||PAGO ROCK||G||8||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||92|
|15||1774641651||PLAY MASTER||G||7||Peter Smith||92|
|17||x35054x11x||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||G||7||Trent Pennuto||89|
|18||2560x6704x||TEMPLE OF BOOM||G||9||Tony Gollan||105|
|19||2x12111x2x||TRUST IN A GUST||H||5||Darren Weir||110|
|20||076x42111x||ZEBRINZ||G||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||82|