The Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) headlines an impressive nine race card at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.
Talented fields have been taken for all nine races on 2017 Aurie’s Star Handicap Day, but we have analysed every horse in detail, in order to help your find a winner.
The action on 2017 Aurie’s Star Handicap Day is set to get underway with the running of the VRC Member Raymond Ali Handicap (1400m) at 12:15pm, while the feature race is slated for 3:55pm.
Race 1 (12:15pm) VRC Member Raymond Ali Handicap (1400m)
Ten three-year-olds will step out in Race 1 on Aurie’s Star Handicap Day and there is winning potential across the board. Peruggia (barrier 10) is seeking a third-consecutive win on Saturday, but has been charged with overcoming a wide draw. The Strategic colt was charged with carrying a 60kgs topweight, but has the luxury of claiming apprentice Ben Allen in the saddle. Confluence (barrier 7) has finished second at each of his three starts this time and is positioned well at this class to go one better, while Nistaan (barrier 1) should be rock-hard fit ahead of this, his third-up run. Stable mates Mulk (barrier 8) and Regal Embrace (barrier 4) are both live chances in current form.
Tip: No. 5 Mulk – Each Way ($6/$2.20)
Race 2 (12:50pm) VRC Member Beverly Hogan Handicap (2530m)
A classy field of stayers has been confirmed for Race 2 and there is a case to be made for more than half the group. Araldo Junior (barrier 6) returned to winning form in the Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) last time out on July 15th and should find little issue in stepping back in distance, while Macedon Lodge runner Kilimanjaro (barrier 1) has the class to win this race easily on his day, but misfired last start and will need to improve tenfold. Master Zephyr (barrier 5) is drawn and weighted ideally and has found terrific form this time in, while Super Haze (barrier 2) carries winning form into the race after saluting in the Banjo Patterson Series Final (2600m) at Flemington last time out on July 8th.
Tip: No. 4 Super Haze ($3.40)
Race 3 (1:25pm) VRC Member Graeme McMenamin Handicap (1400m)
Several Group 1 quality horses will step out in Race 3 and it is subsequently an open race from a betting perspective. Godolphin runner Tally (barrier 3) will resume in the race, but has been charged with overcoming a big 61.5kg topweight and this is short of his best distance. Sovereign Nation (barrier 4) is rock-hard fit and was last seen finishing third in the Listed VRC Winter Championship Final (1600m). Kiwi import My Paisann (barrier 7) has shown plenty of ability since debuting for Lisa Enright and is drawn to get a good run in transit, while Rich Luck (barrier 9) resumed for a smart win at Geelong and will only improve second-up.
Tip: No. 2 Sovereign Nation ($2.70)
Race 4 (2:00pm) VRC Member William O’Grady Handicap (1700m)
Riyadh (barrier 8) has returned to racing in outstanding condition this time and is the horse to beat in Race 4 at Flemington on Saturday. The Darci Brahma gelding finished second in a 1300m sprint first-up on May 12th and has since posted three-consecutive wins, including the two miles races at Flemington most recently. Jaminzah (barrier 10) faces a step up in class into this field, but is also a last-start winner, while Portion Control (barrier 7) is drawn well, a last start winner and looms as a major danger. Stable mates Lucky Paddy (barrier 9) and Shamkiyr (barrier 5) have been charged with carrying 60kgs each and will need plenty of luck.
Tip: No. 3 Riyadh – Each Way ($6.50/$2.35)
Race 5 (2:35pm) VRC Member Mark Young Handicap (1400m)
Ten runners will step out in Race 5, including the resuming Samovare (barrier 6). The former Perth galloper was a smart winner of the Group 3 WA Championship Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in November and finished second behind Pedrena in her east coast debut on June 10th. Tavi Bay (barrier 2) has not been seen at the races since December, but she is a proven first-up performer and is drawn and weighted ideally in this race. Swampland (barrier 4) was impressive at her last start and has a fitness edge on much of this field, while Niminypiminy (barrier 9) should be rock-hard fit ahead of her fifth campaign start.
Tip: No. 2 Samovare ($2.40)
Race 6 (3:15pm) VRC Member Joan Watson Handicap (1400m)
A capacity field has been confirmed for Race 6 and it is an open event from a betting perspective. Lord Tennyson (barrier 16) has been inconsistent this time in and will need to find something to overcome topweight and an awkward draw. Shockaholic (barrier 18) should be ready to peak third-up but is also drawn awkwardly, while Romanesque (barrier 15) will make his Australian debut and has the notable advantage of Brad Rawiller in the saddle. Mr Optimistic (barrier 14) and Antagonist (barrier 12) have both returned to racing in excellent form this time and if they gain starts as race emergencies, are primed for successful steps up in class respectively. Greg Eurell will launch a smart two-pronged attack in the form of Fire Agate (barrier 10) and Four By Four (barrier 11).
Tip: No. 5 Fire Agate – Each Way ($21/$6.60)
Race 7 (3:55pm) Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m)
Only ten sprinters will step out in the featured Aurie’s Star Handicap, however the depth of talent confirmed means that it will be an outstanding contest. Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc (barrier 8) will make his competitive return in the race and flies fresh, while fellow Group 1 winner I Am A Star (barrier 7) has reportedly taken plenty of benefit from her time away from racing and should prove extremely tough to beat. Lindsay Park will saddle close to half the field after confirming all of Grande Rosso (barrier 9), Snitzson (barrier 5), Cannyescent (barrier 10) and Ruettiger (barrier 1) for the Aurie’s Star Handicap. We’ve Got This (barrier 2) is resuming, but relishes racing on the straight track at Flemington and is a live chance.
Tip: No. 2 I Am A Star – Each Way ($7.50/$2.55)
Race 8 (4:35pm) VRC Member Doris Theuma Handicap (2000m)
A capacity field of sixteen stayers will step out in Race 8 on Aurie’s Star Handicap Day, including Irish import Crocodile Rock (barrier 8). The Galileo gelding is a proven first-up performer, will relish the conditions of this race and is arguably the horse to beat. Stable mate Granddukeoftuscany (barrier 2) has steadily built to the task and is ready to return to winning form, while Hardington (barrier 15) and Annaman (barrier 14) should also both be approaching peak fitness. Macrobius (barrier 10) has won three of his last five starts and will be partnered by claiming apprentice Ben Allen. He should find a good position behind the early pace from gate 10.
Tip: No. 1 Crocodile Rock ($3.10)
Race 9 (5:10pm) VRC Member Charles White Handicap (1000m)
A talented field will step out in the final race on 2017 Aurie’s Star Handicap Day. Gun Case (barrier 3) has produced a number of typically smart performances and win this time in and will have a fitness edge on many of his rivals here, while Orujo (barrier 9) has also been racing impressively, albeit in lesser company, and is primed for another big run. So Si Bon (barrier 15) is one of the class runners in this field and while the race is clearly short of his best distance, he is a proven first-up performance and a live chance of flying home fresh.
Tip: No. 1 Gun Case – Each Way ($14/$4.50)