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Lindsay Park’s returning Group 1 Caulfield Stakes winner Cape Of Good Hope is the top-rated runner among the dozen Aurie’s Star Handicap 2020 nominations taken for the opening Group race in Melbourne for the new season.
Saturday racing at Flemington is headlined by the Group 3 $160,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) run down the iconic ‘Straight Six’ track at HQ with a class line-up of potential runners nominated for the event.
Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes have entered five-year-old Galileo entire Cape Of Good Hope who hasn’t raced since things went amiss for him when second last (13th) in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) in March.
Freshened-up since he is a class horse on his day having won the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in an upset last October and Saturday, if accepted, will be the import’s first non-Group 1 assignment in Australia.
The stable has also nominated for So You Think seven-year-old So Si Bon, the $1.3 million earner having had 21 previous starts at Flemington for just the one win when taking out the Aurie’s Star Handicap last season.
The in-form horse among the Aurie’s Star Handicap nominations for 2020 is the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Signore Fox.
The five-year-old Exceed And Excel entire enjoyed his first win since the Razor Sharp Handicap at Randwick back in December when taking out this winter’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) in a narrow upset at Grafton on July 8.
He’s been kept fresh in the month since ahead of the Aurie’s Star Handicap with a winning Randwick trial on July 28 over 1080m to keep him ticking over.
Team Snowden are also in the mix with Written Tycoon four-year-old Hightail who is yet to race at Flemington.
The Magic Millions 3YO Guineas third placegetter enjoyed two wins in May including the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) before his 12th in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
He too is a Ramornie graduate having run eighth to his stablemate when only 2.2 lengths beaten in a run that was better than it reads on paper.
The Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained Game Keeper is the other flyer in the field having won his past four starts including the Listed Adelaide Guineas (1600m) at Morphettville.
Backing-up from that he travelled to Flemington on May 23 and carried a hefty 62kg to victory over 2000m in the wet before a well-deserved let-up.
He will come right back in weight for the Group 3 on Saturday if accepted and will be hard to run down with a 50% winning strike rate over the lesser distance.
The potential veterans in the mix are then Godolphin’s nine-year-old Home Of The Brave who has been racing consistently all season including a last start fourth in Rosehill’s Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) and Great Again.
Lindsey Smith’s Viscount eight-year-old Great Again has had two Flemington runs for a win in this year’s Listed Straight Six (1200m), where Home Of The Brave ran third, and a recent second on July 4 in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) carrying 59kg.
His last run was at Caulfield on July 25 when only a length back for third to Viridine in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), form he will be out to frank returning to Flemington on the weekend.
See below for the full Aurie’s Star Handicap 2020 nominations with final acceptances closing on Wednesday.
2020 Aurie’s Star Handicap Nominations
|Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||83x100x80x||CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (IRE)||H||5||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||108|
|2||0x06x1111x||GAME KEEPER||G||4||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||81|
|3||211x0x1623||GREAT AGAIN||G||8||Lindsey Smith||100|
|4||8x213x1108||HIGHTAIL||G||4||Peter & Paul Snowden||94|
|5||24720×3734||HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE)||G||9||James Cummings||104|
|6||3×56404728||MISS IANO||M||7||Mark C Webb||85|
|8||x1515x0801||SIGNORE FOX||H||5||Peter & Paul Snowden||98|
|9||x84644116x||SO SI BON||G||7||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||106|
|11||17x539265x||WIDGEE TURF||G||7||Patrick Payne||101|
|12||2x4111124x||YULONG JANUARY||G||5||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||98|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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