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A trip up to Sydney for a 2017 Doncaster Mile bid is still being considered for gun filly I Am A Star after she retained her undefeated record at Flemington with a gutsy win in the Kewney Stakes on ‘Super Saturday’.
The Shane Nichols-trained daughter of I Am Invincible is best known for beating home the older mares with Dean Yendall aboard in last spring’s Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).
Yendall was back in the saddle of the gun three-year-old third-up in the $200,000 Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) with her previous jockey of the autumn Craig Williams suspended.
“She’s pretty exciting to ride,” Yendall said post-win on Saturday.
“I’ll tell you what, she was pretty tough today.”
Coming off a seventh in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), I Am A Star relished the step back up in distance and facing a field of fellow three-year-old fillies in the Kewney Stakes.
She started the warm favourite in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and Yendall had her settled nicely in fourth behind the leader Red Is The Rose.
Red Is The Rose found the comfortable spot up front and led from Neville Parnham’s ultra-consistent Perth-trained filly Ellicazoom coming off the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) second on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
As the field cornered Yendall had I Am A Star poised fourth on the outside winding-up for her run.
He peeled out wide on the favourite and with 200m to go the Group 1 winner dug in moving up to challenge Ellicazoom.
The two battled it out stride-for-stride over the closing stages and hit the line nose-for-nose.
The photo Kewney Stakes result showed I Am A Star just got there on the outside, while Darren Weir’s last start The Vanity winner Kenedna put in an eye-catching run from the back to finish third.
“She had to be very tough to knuckle down and find the line,” Nichols said.
“To be three-from-three at Flemington is a big buzz and a big wrap on a very good filly.”
Mornington horseman Nichols said the next-up autumn racing options were wide open for I Am A Star who heads to Moonee Valley on March 24 for the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) on William Reid Stakes Night.
“The Sunline is next Friday week…and then we’ll look at the weather,” he said.
I Am A Star is also still in the mix for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick during April’s ‘The Championships’.
If it is wet weather in Sydney, Nichols said they would give I Am A Star a freshen-up and head to Adelaide for a shot at the Group 1 sprints at Morphettville – the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) held on May 6 and The Goodwood (1200m) a fortnight later.
“If it was wet up there [in Sydney] we’ll save ourselves for Adelaide,” he said.
“At this stage the Robert Sangster and The Goodwood would be the options for her.
“If Sydney was drying out we may go up for one of those two races [Doncaster and Queen Of The Turf], it just depends on her and how she’s going.
“She had to run today and run well. It was very important to get her over the line.
“We’ll look after her though and keep her for the long term and not just the autumn as a three-year-old.”
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2017 Kewney Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 5 – 11/03/2017
|1||2||I AM A STAR (NZ)||Shane Nichols||Dean Yendall||–||4||55.5kg||$2F|
|2||3||ELLICAZOOM||Neville Parnham||Steven Pateman||0.1L||9||55.5kg||$7.50|
|3||4||KENEDNA||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||1.6L||12||55.5kg||$10|
|4||14||RED IS THE ROSE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||2L||7||55.5kg||$20|
|5||11||A MIST OPPORTUNITY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||3.5L||13||55.5kg||$101|
|6||8||FRAGONARD||John O’Shea||Joao Moreira||3.6L||5||55.5kg||$11|
|7||9||FLORIDA KEYS||Pat Carey||Luke Nolen||3.7L||1||55.5kg||$41|
|8||5||OREGON’S DAY||Mick Price||Mark Zahra||3.8L||3||55.5kg||$9|
|9||6||MODERN WONDER||Leon & Troy Corstens||Stephen Baster||3.9L||2||55.5kg||$12|
|10||12||SAVAJU (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||Ms Nikita Beriman||5.15L||10||55.5kg||$151|
|11||7||NAVAGIO (NZ)||Colin Little||Luke Currie||6.15L||8||55.5kg||$61|
|12||10||SOHO RUBY||Levi Kavanagh||Ben E Thompson (a)||8.15L||6||55.5kg||$101|
|13||13||SOGNANI||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||11.15L||11||55.5kg||$201|
|–||15||CLASSIC DIVA||Robbie Griffiths||Jye McNeil||–||0||–||–|
|–||1||FLYING JESS||John Moloney||Jordan Childs (a)||–||0||–||–|
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