A particularly impressive field of 12 has been confirmed for the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington; a race that is undoubtedly shaping as the best and most highly-anticipated in the country this weekend.
Two-time Group 1 champion Trust In A Gust will likely be retired into a stud career following the 2015 Spring Carnival, and will begin his campaign in Saturday’s 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap in Melbourne.
Finishing outside the first three only twice in an impressive eighteen start career, Trust In A Gust was a standout performer for Darren Weir through the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival; running second to Atlante in the Listed Drummond Golf Stakes (1400m) before taking out his next three starts; including both the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Having returned this year for a close second in the Vobis Gold Sprint (1200m) on April 18th, the Keep The Faith entire was unlucky to miss the major Winter Carnival sprints with a minor ailment, but is reportedly in great form ahead of Saturday’s return.
Charged with carrying a race-high 60kgs, Trust In A Gust will also need luck in running from barrier 11.
Consistent performer Le Bonsir may also need a little luck from barrier 9, but is weighted well at just 54kgs, will be partnered by leading hoop Dwayne Dunn and a great chance for success in the Aurie’s Star Handicap.
Returning to racing in typically slick form through the 2014 winter, Le Bonsir placed a close second in each of the Listed Straight Six (1200m), Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) and Listed All Victorian Sprint Final (1200m).
Returning this year for fifth amongst notable competition in the All Victorian Sprint Series Heat (1100m), the Choisir gelding placed second to Lumosty in the Straight Six but returned to the paddock for a brief freshen-up after failing to match the late pace in the Golden Topaz (1200m).
Pago Rock will line up for his seventh start this time in the Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap but is arguably offered his best chance of success so far from barrier 3 and with only 54kgs this weekend.
Clearly needed the run when twelfth in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) first-up on April 18th, the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding responded well in running second in the All Victorian Sprint Series Heat and a credible fifth in the Straight Six.
Having placed a close second in the Bruce Gadsden Handicap (1400m) last time out on July 18th, the Aurie’s Star may very well figure as the final point of call for the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained runner this time.
Nadeem Lass should also be suited to the conditions of the 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap and carries competitive black type form into the feature race.
Posting three wins and a further sixteen minors through her competitive 38 start career, Nadeem Lass finished third in the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16th; progressing to close seconds in her next two starts at Flemington before running fifth in both the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) and Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) most recently.
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2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||2x12111x2x||TRUST IN A GUST||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||11||60kg||110|
|2||42276x520x||LE BONSIR||Mick Price||Dwayne Dunn||9||54kg||95|
|3||1x41215x11||SHIRAZ||Tony McEvoy||Damien Oliver||1||54kg||94|
|4||225×990276||DECIRCLES||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||2||54kg||92|
|5||808×025482||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Keith Yeung||3||54kg||92|
|6||1774641651||PLAY MASTER||Peter Smith||Craig Newitt||5||54kg||92|
|7||28×2853512||LONROCKSTAR||John Sadler||Glen Boss||8||54kg||90|
|8||6331332255||NADEEM LASS||Robbie Griffiths||Luke Currie||7||54kg||89|
|9||x35054x11x||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||Trent Pennuto||Jordan Mallyon||12||54kg||89|
|10||238x597x46||LIVING ON A PRAYER||Mick Cerchi||Dean Holland||10||54kg||84|
|11||076x42111x||ZEBRINZ||Leon & Troy Corstens||Chris Parnham||6||54kg||82|