Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap Highlights Saturday Meeting

Flemington’s first Group race of the spring, the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200 m) will offer glimpses of the not too distant carnival.

There is not a huge number of Group quality races in the month of August and the Aurie’s is the one and only for the week and it offers the appetiser for the following weekend, when Winx makes her much-anticipated return in the Winx Stakes at Randwick.

The Aurie’s Star Handicap is one of the sprints that is held on the straight track and is the first group race of the season in Victoria.

It was won by Hey Doc last year.

For punters who like to base their wagers on intuition or coincidence, I Am A Star is in the race, so the name of the race, combined with the name of trainer Shane Nichol’s horse might be all the clue needed.

Ladbrokes has her as a $10 chance behind favourite Voodoo Lad ($3.90), Home Of The Brave ($4.00), Poetic Dream ($4.80 after opening at $7), Rich Charm ($5.50) and Brave Song ($6.00).

The sixth line in a field of 10 does not seem the sort of thing to offer much encouragement. Her trainer is confident that he latest preparation will see her return to the form that permitted her to win the Group 1 Meyer Classic as a three-year-old filly, but she was dead last in the same race last year.

Leg issues prompted Nichols to spell her last autumn.

Nichol’s reported, “She developed a splint, she had a bit of back pain and she developed a bit of a high suspensory problem. Her feet were a bit shelly and she was feeling all those things when she came back in for the autumn.We got her almost to the trial stage and I just wasn’t happy with her and (owner) Matthew Sandblom was more than happy to give her the time she needs and start again. So we did.”

Sandblom is obviously much more patient than the connections of Chautauqua.

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