The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Group racing kicks off on Saturday at Flemington Racecourse with the Aurie’s Star Handicap 2015, betting tips for which can be found below.
A dozen gallopers make up the field for this weekend’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) with betting at Ladbrokes.com.au firmly led by the Tony McEvoy-trained Shiraz ($2.25).
Drawn a treat on the rails with big race hoop Damien Oliver in the saddle, the in-form Zariz six-year-old shoots for his third win on the trot after back-to-back victories over 1100m and 1200m respectively in the wet at Rosehill last month.
Up in class for his black-type assignment on Saturday, Shiraz drops from 58kg to the 54kg minimum in the Aurie’s Star and so the bookmakers are taking no chances with the galloper who ticks plenty of boxes.
Only two other hopes are also under double figures for the win then with Darren Weir’s returning Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust ($3.40) drawn wide in barrier 11 and carrying the hefty 60kg top weight, and Play Master ($9.50) for Benalla-based trainer Peter Smith who comes off a win in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at the track from July 11.
So will the first three in betting also be the first three over the line on Saturday or is there an upset Aurie’s Star Handicap result on the agenda from the lies of the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained local son of Sebring Zebrinz ($10) or Lonrockstar ($10) who ran second to Play Master last time out?
#7 Lonrockstar ($10)
At double figures think there is very nice value in John Sadler’s in-form Lonhro six-year-old who won over 1100m at the track two back before a second last time out in the All Victorian Sprint Series Final when beaten under half a length. Yet to win over the distance but has a solid 1200m record (7-0-4-1), Glen Boss rides and gets in on the 54kg minimum. Plenty to like about the lead-up form and speed of this genuine sprinter and if handles the class can score the upset.
#3 Shiraz ($2.25)
The favourite should be right up there in the mix but is just a tad short to take for the win for us. Oliver will get the run of the race from the inside alley on the punters’ pick who comes off back-to-back wins in the wet in Sydney. Travels to Melbourne and is racing the other way of going then at Victoria’s premier track, which the well-fancied gelding sees for the first time this weekend. Had 58kg last time out for the win and so should be flying with four kilos less on the minimum on the weekend. How he goes in Melbourne down the straight will be key to his chances here and further ahead in the spring.
#8 Nadeem Lass ($26)
Robbie Griffiths’ classy mare looks way over the odds nudging $30. It’s been a while between drinks but her place rate is outstanding, this six-year-old last seen running fifth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 25. That was behind a Group 1 winner in Smokin’ Joey and Saturday’s assignment shapes up a little easier. She ran top three seven times on the trot before a Flemington fifth to Play Master in the All Victorian Sprint and the fifth last time out that she can improve on with the drop in weights and a good mid-field draw to add value to the trifecta here.
Get in on the Aurie’s Star Handicap betting action today online at Ladbrokes.com.au who are offering a Bonus Bet if your first Fixed Odds Win bet on Flemington Race 7 this Saturday runs second or third!