Mighty Like Fresh and Firing for 2016 Aurie’s Star Bid

Caulfield’s Mick Price hopes keeping his last start Flemington winner Mighty Like fresh will be the key to him posting a second win down the straight in Saturday’s 2016 Aurie’s Star Handicap.

Damien Oliver

Jockey Damien Oliver shoots for his third Aurie’s Star Handicap win in as many years aboard Mighty Like at Flemington this weekend. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

The seven-year-old Host gelding continued a nice record at Flemington Racecourse on July 23 winning a Benchmark 90 over 1200m carrying 58.5kg to victory at the track he now has two wins and two thirds from six runs over.

He is back on the weekend, stepping up in grade for a shot at the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) where he’ll drop down to 55kg.

He has also dropped a bit of weight off his frame after that resuming win, where he jumped at double-figures for the upset, and will be fitter for his second-up run Price told Racenet.

“I thought he was a little bit tubby and I thought he’d have an improving run to the line,” the Group 1 winning trainer said.

“He surprised me the other day but the race worked out very well for him.”

Class hoop Damien Oliver comes aboard in place of apprentice Beau Mertens who used his claim for the horse’s last start win over the Darren Weir-trained Magnus Reign, who is another Aurie’s Star hope for this Saturday.

Mighty Like is drawn the outside alley in the Aurie’s Star Handicap field that is now down to a dozen starters after the scratching of the Cindy Alderson-trained Manageress (1).

Aurie’s Star Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is led by another last start winner at the track and distance, the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Duporth five-year-old Ruettiger ($4) having taken out the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) on July 9.

Price’s hopeful is also at single-figures as one of three runners now at $7 in the Aurie’s Star Handicap odds.

The other equally-priced rivals are John Sargent’s last start Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) winner at Grafton Smart Volatility and the Henry Dwyer-trained mare Beirut who is more likely to bow out of racing with an Adelaide run in Saturday’s Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m).

The last Group run by Mighty Like left plenty to be desired when he ran last (10th) on March 5 behind Red Bomber in a Group 3 over 1400m.

That said, he was only beaten four lengths and seem to appreciate the give out of the ground next run on Soft going, which Price is hoping he gets again on Saturday.

“If we got another soft (7) that would be great but he’s nice and fresh,” Price said.

“I’ve kept him fresh and we’ll have a go.”

Oliver got an early feel for his Aurie’s Star mount riding Mighty Like in a nice track gallop at Caulfield on Tuesday morning.

The world class jockey chases his third Aurie’s Star Handicap win in as many years after success on Tiger Tees (2014) and Shiraz (2015).

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