The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
A host of fit winter stars do battle at Flemington on Saturday in an outstanding edition of the Aurie’s Star Handicap 2021 in the lead-up to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Set to run as Flemington Race 8 at 4:30pm, this year’s Group 3 $200,000 World Horse Racing Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) field features 15 runners led in betting by the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained The Astrologist ($4.60 @ Ladbrokes.com.au).
The Zoustar five-year-old is drawn midfield in gate eight and chases a third win from four starts coming off a strong winter campaign.
He enjoyed back-to-back Flemington wins including July’s Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final over the six furlongs before a close third only a half-length beaten in Caulfield’s Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).
The Astrologist faces a challenge here against a field of in-form sprinters, but he has the fitness edge in the Aurie’s Star field and returns to his pet track on Saturday.
It is a wide open Aurie’s Star Handicap betting market on the weekend with a further six single-figure fancies including the Danny O’Brien-trained stablemates Banquo ($7.50) and Group 1 runner-up Order Of Command ($8.50).
Written Tycoon entire Banquo is Group 1 performed at the track (Newmarket Handicap 5th) and a Group 2 placegetter when runner-up to Zoutori in last September’s Bobbie Lewis Quality.
He comes off a second to The Astrologist in the All Victorian Sprint Series Final and is out to turn the tables this weekend from barrier three third-up with Damian Lane in the saddle.
Kicking off his spring campaign is the Ben & JD Hayes-trained Aysar ($7.50) in gate nine with premier hoop Jamie Kah aboard the now four-year-old son of Deep Field.
Aysar is out to shrug his place-getter status having strung together a host of second placings last time out including in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) behind Ole Kirk.
Last start Listed Glasshouse Handicap winner in Queensland King Of Hastings ($8) and Saab Hasan’s resuming Wanted seven-year-old Sirius Suspect ($8.50) are the next best in betting.
Rounding out the horses under $10 Aurie’s Star Handicap odds is the rails-drawn Regardsmaree ($9.50) for local horseman Nick Ryan.
The So You Think five-year-old enjoyed a hat-trick of wins back at the start of the year and hasn’t raced since a fourth in the Echa Cup back in March.
There will also be eyes on triple-figure outsider, the returning VRC Derby champion Johnny Get Angry ($126) for former AFL Premiership coach Denis Pagan.
The youngster makes his four-year-old debut here and races for the first time since his upset win at HQ in last October’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) nine months ago.
2021 Aurie’s Star Handicap Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||0329431x||JOHNNY GET ANGRY (NZ)||Denis Pagan||Jamie Mott||11||59kg||104|
|2||722x329x98||ORDER OF COMMAND||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||5||58.5kg||103|
|3||x1622x229x||AYSAR||Ben & JD Hayes||Ms Jamie Kah||9||57.5kg||101|
|4||7174346×18||ROMANCER (NZ)||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||6||57kg||100|
|5||2145×54113||THE ASTROLOGIST||Leon & Troy Corstens||Damien Thornton||8||57kg||100|
|6||x16232x483||GREAT AGAIN||Lindsey Smith||Declan Bates||2||56.5kg||99|
|7||8568436×98||TACTICAL ADVANTAGE||Kris Lees||Craig Newitt||12||56.5kg||99|
|8||25x7277x52||BANQUO||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||3||55.5kg||97|
|9||9x615x0641||KING OF HASTINGS||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Brett Prebble||4||55.5kg||97|
|10||11218227×0||SECRET BLAZE||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Jye McNeil||7||55.5kg||97|
|11||60x311x76x||SIRIUS SUSPECT||Saab Hasan||Damien Oliver||13||55.5kg||97|
|12||34x131114x||REGARDSMAREE||Nick Ryan||Fred Kersley||1||54kg||94|
|13||36x99x7407||I AM SOMEONE||Matt Laurie||Lachlan Neindorf (a)||14||54kg||90|
|14||72233×7711||TOO GOOD TOO HARD||Phillip Stokes||Will Price (a)||10||54kg||89|
|15||403×439067||IRISH SONGS||Kurt Goldman||Beau Mertens||15||54kg||76|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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