Tony McEvoy’s in-form six-year-old Shiraz has opened the red hot favourite to keep his winning streak going with a Group victory in the Aurie’s Star Handicap 2015 at Flemington Racecourse this weekend.
Due to jump as Flemington Race 7 at 3:50pm (AEST) on Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) kicks off Group racing this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and features a final field of 12 sprinters.
Sitting top of the Aurie’s Star Handicap odds is the McEvoy-trained market mover, Zariz gelding Shiraz backed in from $2.80 to $2.35.
Drawn a treat on the rails in barrier one with Damien Oliver in the saddle, the favourite comes off back-to-back Sydney wins and makes his Melbourne debut on Saturday.
Two back he beat home Zaratone over 1100m at Rosehill in a Benchmark 95 before returning to the track last time out on July 18 to win over 1200m by a tidy two and a half lengths.
Now the bookies are taking no chances with the lightly-raced horse who races not on in Victoria for the first time but also has his maiden run in black-type company at career start number 13.
Having won eight of those 13 starts so far he looks the type to take the next step with a Group win this weekend before targeting more stakes success over the spring.
Following Shiraz in the Aurie’s Star Handicap betting markets is close $3.20 second pick Trust In A Gust who is drawn at the other end of the field with Brad Rawiller aboard the 60kg top weight from barrier 11 (of 12).
The ultra-consistent Darren Weir-trained Keep The Faith stallion hasn’t raced since April last year and so resumes off a lengthy spell on Saturday.
Winner of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes – Toorak Handicap double at Caulfield last spring, the $1.14 million earner suffered a minor injury after his one autumn run and so went to the paddock to recover for his spring return.
The only other Aurie’s Star Handicap starter under double figures in the latest markets is then Play Master who has been well supported early backed in from $13 to $9.50 with Craig Newitt riding the Peter Smith-trained Masterprint seven-year-old from barrier five on the 54kg minimum.
Play Master has won 10 of his 25 starts so far and was last seen taking his victories into double figures with success in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 11.
Just outside the single figure hopes at more generous odds are the likes of All Victorian Sprint Series Final runner-up Lonrockstar ($10) prepared by John Sadler and the returning Zebrinz ($14).
Leon & Troy Corstens’ local Sebring five-year-old Zebrinz races for the first time since posting a third consecutive win in the VOBIS Gold Mile over 1600m at Caulfield on April 18.
He carried 57kg to victory that day with Chris Parham in the saddle, Parnham aboard again on the weekend for the gelding’s resuming run on the 54kg light weight.
See below for the full Aurie’s Star Handicap 2015 betting odds, prices courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering a Bonus Bet on the race if your first Fixed Odds Win bet runs 2nd or 3rd.