The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Two sprinters are fighting for favouritism in 2020 Aurie’s Star Handicap betting for this weekend at Flemington with the in-form Great Again narrow top elect over the Godolphin-raced Home Of The Brave in the Group showdown.
A key early lead-up to the upcoming spring sprinting features in Melbourne, this season’s Group 3 $160,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) takes place down the iconic ‘Straight Six’ at HQ.
Running as Flemington Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEST) as the key race on the nine-event program, the Aurie’s Star Handicap field is down to nine following the early scratchings of the rails-drawn The Crusha and Team Snowden’s last-start Ramornie Handicap winner Signore Fox.
Signore Fox was drawn the outside alley (11) and instead runs in Sydney’s Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) over the same distance at Rosehill on Saturday.
Updated Aurie’s Star Handicap odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au list the Lindsey Smith-trained Great Again as the $4 favourite with the veteran Viscount eight-year-old to be ridden by Declan Bates.
Bates jumps aboard the consistent galloper for the first time since winning the Listed Straight Six (1200m) at the same track and distance on a Heavy (8) course back in May.
Great Again has had three subsequent runs for two Black-Type placings with Michael Rodd in the saddle for the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final second on July 4 and the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) third to Viridine on July 25.
The bookies are tipping the Bletchingly Stakes form from Caulfield to stack-up in the Aurie’s Star with Great Again coming back from 58.5kg that run to 57kg having only been beaten 1.15 lengths in that lead-up.
The danger following closely in Aurie’s Star Handicap markets at $4.40 is the James Cummings-trained Home Of The Brave to be ridden by Damien Oliver.
Oliver has an outstanding record in the Aurie’s Star Handicap having ridden four winners to victory since 2008 with success aboard: Mic Mac (2009), Tiger Tees (2014), Shiraz (2015) and most recently Voodoo Lad (2018).
Home Of The Brave carries 59kg this weekend with the Starspangledbanner nine-year-old having careers start number 34.
It has been a long time between drinks for the European expat whose last victory was in Rosehill’s Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) back in September of 2018.
His more notable runs since include a second in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) last October behind Brutal and the Straight Sixth third to his rival on Saturday, Great Again, two back.
Last time out he ran a credible fourth carrying 60.5kg behind Trumbull in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill on June 27 and with an on speed run here off a winning Sydney barrier trial he presents as a winning hope.
Following the top two in Aurie’s Star Handicap betting are the likes of the Patrick Payne-trained Widgee Turf ($6), recent Gold Coast Guineas winner Hightail ($7.50) who scratched out of Sydney’s Group 2 Missile Stakes in favour of a run here and the 60kg topweight So Si Bon ($8.50).
Widgee Turf was Group 1 placed behind Begood Toya Mother at Caulfield in last September’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and looks capable of a solid run fresh not having had a start since December last year.
The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Written Tycoon four-year-old Hightail is well-weighted with 55kg and is out to atone for a last start eighth to stablemate Signore Fox in Grafton’s Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) when carrying 56.56kg on July 8.
So Si Bon may be carrying the big kilos in the form of Mark Zahra, but the Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes-trained So You Think seven-year-old is the class horse in the race and more than capable of winning at his best.
2020 Aurie’s Star Handicap Field & Barriers
|SO SI BON
|Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes
|HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE)
|Peter & Paul Snowden
|Ciaron Maher & David Eustace
|Peter & Paul Snowden
|Tony & Calvin McEvoy
|Mark C Webb
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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