Trainer John Sadler is not ruling out an upset win by Lonrockstar over the more fancied runners in the Group 3 $150,000 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Lonrockstar has raced through the Winter and his rock hard condition will be his advantage over dual Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust who hasn’t raced since running second to Red Bomber in the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m) at Caulfield on April 18.
“He is in good form. These horses that raced through the Winter, their fitness is pretty good compared to some of the others that are just coming back,” Sadler said on RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“He gets his chance to win a decent race.”
Sadler has taken Lonrockstar to Flemington for his last three runs for a win and a second but said that with a bit of luck the six year old could have had a perfect record down the Flemington straight.
Lonrockstar was beaten just over two lengths when fifth in a 1200m BenchMark 78 on June 10 then came out and won a $80,000 1100m Handicap on June 17 followed by a second to Play Master in the Listed $150,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) on July 11.
“He has shown a real likeness for the straight and I think he is probably just a touch out of his grade at this stage, but his last three performances down the straight have been all excellent,” Sadler said.
“He was very unlucky when Damien rode him in the mid-week meeting and then came out at his next start and won and then probably a fraction unlucky in the Sprint Final a couple of weeks ago. He just got squeezed out a little bit at the start but he still ran very very well.”
Glen Boss gets the ride this week on the Lonhro gelding who will jump from barrier eight in the twelve horse field.
Lonrockstar is listed as a $10 chance for the Aurie’s Star Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au and will be clashing again with Player Master, a $9.50 chance.
The Tony McEvoy trained Shiraz has also been racing through the Winter and comes to Flemington on the back of a winning a double at Rosehill in a $85,000 1100m BenchMark 95 Handicap on July 4 followed by a win in a $85,000 1200m BenchMark 90 Handicap a fortnight later.
Shiraz is a firming favourite at $2.35 while the class runner of the field, Trust In A Gust, has eased slightly from his opening quote of $2.30 and is now listed at $3.20.
The Darren Weir trained Trust In A Gust was in the spotlight twelve months ago during the Melbourne Spring Carnival with a Group 1 winning double at Caulfield in the $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and the $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m).