Henry Dwyer’s in-form mare Beirut is the headline early entry for Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap 2016 that kicks off Group racing in Melbourne at Flemington Racecourse for the new season.
Saved for this weekend’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) after bypassing a run in last Saturday’s Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, Dwyer’s in-form Lonhro six-year-old is one of 14 nominees for the sprint clash.
Aurie’s Star Handicap nominations have been extended until 10:00am (AEST) on Tuesday morning.
Of the original entries, Beirut is one of the standouts coming off four straight Melbourne wins including a 1200m success at Caulfield over Nadeem Lass on July 16.
She is yet to run at Flemington however and how she handles the straight track and the step up in grade will be key to her extending her winning streak.
Also coming off a string of good lead-up wins is fellow six-year-old mare Cavaloce prepared in Adelaide by Will Clarken.
The daughter of Testa Rossa is also as yet untested at Flemington and comes off back-to-back Morphettville wins over 1200m and 1400m respectively last month.
The highest rated of the current Aurie’s Star Handicap nominations is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Dibayani, the seven-year-old Shamardal import last seen running ninth to 2016 Cox Plate hope Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney on April 9.
The multiple Group 1 performer is yet to win over less than 1400m and will improve on whatever he does first-up over the Aurie’s Star Handicap distance when stepped out over further.
Lindsay Park is also represented by Commands stallion Tashbeeh who is far better performed at Flemington with three wins and two thirds from five previous starts at the track.
Also high up the handicap ratings are the likes of John Sargent’s Hong Kong expat Smart Volatility coming off a win in Grafton’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) who jockey Tye Angland will stay aboard and the Matt Laurie-trained Escado.
Melbourne Cup winning horseman Darren Weir has nominated for Magnus Reign who ran second at the track and distance last start and Sooboog who debuts as a four-year-old.
Snitzel stallion Sooboog chases his first win since September last year, but was far from disgraced last time out on July 9 when only a length away fourth to Lord Von Costa in the Listed Creswick Series Final (1200m) at Flemington.
Other notable hopes include Cindy Alderson’s mare Manageress who hasn’t raced since her second to Lucia Valentina in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival, Mick Price’s last start winner at the track / distance Mighty Like and the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained All Victorian Sprint Series Final winner Ruettiger.
See below for the current Aurie’s Star Handicap 2016 nominations, final acceptances and barriers out on Wednesday followed by the best betting markets online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost!
2016 Aurie’s Star Handicap Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 06/08/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|3||3399x4249x||DIBAYANI (IRE)||G||7||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||105|
|5||5x287210x5||JUST MAGICAL||G||5||Lyn Tolson & Leonie Proctor||79|
|6||0x709x5462||MAGNUS REIGN||G||7||Darren Weir||85|
|8||13951630×1||MIGHTY LIKE||G||7||Mick Price||97|
|9||22160x866x||MR CHARD||H||9||Tony McEvoy||93|
|10||x107x0085x||PHEIDON||G||6||Jim Cerchi (Jnr)||93|
|11||3x11x32431||RUETTIGER (NZ)||G||5||Lee & Anthony Freedman||91|
|12||0362x70x71||SMART VOLATILITY||G||8||John Sargent||104|
|14||321511246x||TASHBEEH||H||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||95|