Evergreen Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn will be out to secure the upcoming Spring rides on Group 1 winner I Am A Star when he partners her in the Group 3 $150,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.Dunn replaces regular rider Dean Yendall who is out injured, recovering from a fractured shoulder, and trainer Shane Nichols will no doubt contemplate another Spring Carnival Group 1 program if I Am A Star races up to expectation on Saturday.
A good ride from Dunn will also go along way towards him staying on board the talented I Am Invincible mare heading into the Spring Carnival.
“If you win, you like to hope you can stay there,” Dunn told racing.com.
“She’s a lovely filly that you’d like to be a part of this preparation, she’s got some nice races ahead of her and she’s a high-class galloper.”
“The door’s opened. I think Dean Yendall’s been injured and he’s unable to take the ride, so when these opportunities arise, you try to take them with both hands, and hopefully we can reward the owners for being confident in putting me on,
Dunn can see I Am A Star being among the major end of the prizemoney at her first run back since running third to Secret Agenda in the Group 1 $1m Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 6.
“She knows the track well, and she’s adaptable at most things,” Dunn said.
“She takes up a beautiful position in running, and she gives a great sight every time, so there’s no reason why Saturday’s event will be any different.”
I Am A Star has drawn barrier seven in the ten horse Aurie’s Star Handicap field and has a perfect record at Flemington for three wins from three starts, including one down the straight in an 1100m two year old Plate during her juvenile year.
Nicholas is yet to map out a definite Spring Carnival program for I Am A Star but he is certain that the I Am Invincible filly will regain her best form that saw her win the Group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic (1600m) against the older mares at Flemington in last year’s Spring Carnival.
The Mornington trainer pulled up stumps during the Autumn after I Am A Star ran third to Secret Agenda Robert Sangster Stakes and Nichols sent her to the paddock in preference to running her in the Group 1 $1m Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville fortnight later.
“I am so glad that we didn’t run her in The Goodwood as they gave her two extra weeks in the paddock and it meant she’s had an ideal time off,” Nichols told racing.com.
Early betting for the Aurie’s Star Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au has I Am A Star listed at $7.50 in a fairly congested market order that has six of the ten runners under the $10 mark.
The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Flippant is the early favourite at $4.50 ahead of the two Lindsay Park trained runners, Cannyescent at $5.50 and Grande Rosso at $6.
The Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc is also posted at $6, the Greg Eurell trained We’ve Got This is marked at $8.50 while the Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig will also saddle up Snitzson and Ruettiger, both at $15.