Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar is back in work with trainer Anthony Cummings to follow a program that will aim the four year old towards the 2014 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
Cummings has reported that Fiveandahalfstar has recovered from a fetlock injury that kept him on the sidelines during the year’s Spring Carnival and has been back in the stable for a week.
“He’s been back in work for about a week and he looks really healthy and well,” Cummings told Racing Victoria News.
“The issue that he had with his fetlock has settled nicely and touch wood it won’t be an issue for him going forward.”
Fiveandahalfstar took out the 2012 Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington and Cummings said that he would give the Hotel Grand gelding a fairly light Autumn campaign in 2014 compared to this year when he competed in two Group 2s and three Group 1 races from five outings.
Fiveandahalfstar was rewarded for his consistency and after finishing second in the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington and Group 1 $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill, went on to win the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 6.
The fetlock problem developed after that win forcing Cummings to cancel his Spring program but the Randwick trainer is hoping for better luck this time around.
“At this stage his future program looks to be Sydney-based in the autumn with a view to having a shortened program compared to what he’s done in the past so that he can come back bright and well for the Spring in Melbourne,” Cummings said.
“The right preparation for him is probably going through the Doncaster into the Queen Elizabeth and then he’ll have a break and come back for a Spring campaign aimed at the Melbourne Cup next year.”
The revamped Sydney Autumn Carnival with its massive prizemoney increases is certainly on the agenda for Fiveandahalfstar with Cummings to target the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12 and the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick the following week.
Cummings said that Fiveandahalfstar would follow a weight for age program in the Spring and a run in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October would be pencilled in as a lead up to the Melbourne Cup.
In early Melbourne Cup markets, Fiveandahalfstar is marked as a $51 chance with Mount Athos ($17) and this year’s winner Fiorente ($19) heading the betting.