Three-year-old stayer Fiveandahalfstar benefited from a masterful front-running ride by Hugh Bowman to lead from start to finish and take out the Group 1 $2.25 million BMW (2400m) at Rosehill today.
After controlling the speed throughout the race, the Victoria Derby winner managed to find something extra in the straight and showed toughness to hold on from New Zealand mare Silent Achiever who finished quickly down the inside.
It was the first win of the autumn for Fiveandahalfstar who was coming off four consecutive runner-up finishes.
Trainer Anthony Cummings pencilled in the major autumn staying feature as a key target at the beginning of the preparation and was delighted with the performance of both horse and jockey.
“Hughie judged the ride and got the speed right and the horse did the rest,” Cummings said.
“He’s a great horse.”
Cummings said the son of Hotel Grand will back up in next weekend’s $1.5 million Australian Derby where he stands as the major threat to in-form colt It’s A Dundeel.
Bowman was aboard Fiveandahalfstar on raceday for just the second time and described him as a “privilege” to ride.
“At the 1400m [mark] I felt that I was really in control,” Bowman said.
“I just held on to him, let him get through his gears. You saw him fight when Silent Achiever came up his inside. It’s a great feeling.
“He’ll go around next week and he’ll do it again.”
The talented stayer showed his ability to back up off short turnarounds in the spring when claiming the Victoria Derby just six days after winning a restricted race in Sydney.
Auckland Cup winner Sangster made it an all-New Zealand affair in the minor placings by finishing off well to take third place.