Lindsay Park’s returning European import Dibayani is the highest rated and weighted acceptor for Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap 2016 at Flemington Racecourse.
The opening Group race of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) has attracted a final field of 13 and is set to run as Flemington Race 7 at 3:50pm (AEST).
Sitting top of the field and carrying the 59kg top weight from a mid-field barrier seven draw with Mark Zahra in the saddle is the David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Irish-bred seven-year-old Dibayani.
The Shamardal gelding races for the first time since his ninth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and makes has his first look at the Flemington straight.
Co-trainer Dabernig is hoping the ‘straight six’ suits the Group 1 placed stayer who kicks off his campaign ahead of tougher targets including the $500,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27.
The stable has also accepted for Tashbeeh who gets in on the 54kg minimum but who is drawn out in barrier 12.
The Commands stallion has a strong Flemington record of three wins and two thirds from five runs at the track to date he’ll be out to add to first-up, chasing his maiden win since a 2000m victory at the course back in late January.
Boasting the fitness edge and coming off a win are the likes of the John Sargent-trained Hong Kong import Smart Volatility and Henry Dwyer’s class mare Beirut drawn well in barriers two and five respectively.
Lightly-raced for his age, Danewin eight-year-old Smart Volatility has just his third run in Australia on the weekend on the back of a narrow upset win over Big Money as a $21 shot in Grafton’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) on July 13.
He won a subsequent trial a fortnight later at Randwick over 850m, but goes up from 57.5kg in the Grafton race to 58.5kg this weekend with Tye Angland continuing his association on the consistent sprinter.
Beirut meanwhile has won her past four runs all in Victoria and is a dual acceptor for the weekend also in the mix for the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide for her swansong race before heading to the breeding barn.
The other last start winners are the Mick Price-trained Mighty Like who won at the track and distance on July 23 and Ruettiger for Lee & Anthony Freedman.
Damien Oliver rides Host seven-year-old Mighty Like from the outside alley on the weekend, the gelding looking to add to his solid second-up record (4-2-0-0) in tougher company.
Ruettiger meanwhile chases a fourth win from seven starts over Saturday’s distance on the back of success in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington from July 9.
Other notable Aurie’s Star Handicap hopefuls include the Cindy Alderson-trained Magnus mare Manageress who hasn’t raced since her second to Lucia Valentina in last November’s Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Emirates Stakes Day and Darren Weir’s Snitzel four-year-old Sooboog coming off a fourth in the Listed AR Creswick Series Final (1200m).
Check out the full Aurie’s Star Handicap 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights below then visit our preferred online sportsbook Ladbrokes.com.au quoting the code BETBONUS when you make your first deposit to have it matched 100% up to $500 in bonuses!
2016 Aurie’s Star Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 7 (3:50pm) – 06/08/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||3399x4249x||DIBAYANI (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||7||59kg||105|
|2||0362x70x71||SMART VOLATILITY||John Sargent||Tye Angland||2||58.5kg||104|
|3||281x97170x||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||8||57kg||101|
|4||13951630×1||MIGHTY LIKE||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||13||55kg||97|
|5||321511246x||TASHBEEH||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||12||54kg||95|
|6||483141282x||MANAGERESS||Cindy Alderson||Luke Currie||1||54kg||93|
|7||22160x866x||MR CHARD||Tony McEvoy||Dwayne Dunn||6||54kg||93|
|8||x107x0085x||PHEIDON||Jim Cerchi (Jnr)||Ben E Thompson (a)||10||54kg||93|
|9||3x11x32431||RUETTIGER (NZ)||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Daniel Moor||9||54kg||91|
|10||0x709x5462||MAGNUS REIGN||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||4||54kg||85|
|11||93×8281111||BEIRUT||Henry Dwyer||Chris Symons||5||54kg||83|
|12||5x287210x5||JUST MAGICAL||Lyn Tolson & Leonie Proctor||Ben Allen (a)||3||54kg||79|
|13||4×38202054||SOOBOOG||Darren Weir||Michael Dee (a)||11||54kg||79|