Jockey Dwayne Dunn is billing the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday as one of the top races of the Spring Carnival with a star studded list of three year olds nominated.
Dunn rides the brilliant Team Hawkes trained Star Turn who will be taking on Group 1 winners Capitalist, Astern and Extreme Choice who are among the sixteen nominations..
“There’s six or seven serious horses in there,” Dunn told AAP.
Dunn takes over from Craig Williams who steered Star Turn to victory over the older horses in the Group 2 $400,000 Mitsubishi Electric Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 8 and said while he wasn’t impressive in a recent jump out at Flemington, the Star Witness colt is a different commodity with the blinkers on under race conditions.
“Without his blinkers on he only does what he has to do,” Dunn said.
“When he’s got the blinkers on, he’s a different horse.”
While Star Turn was beaten by Golden Rose winner Astern in the Group 2 $175,000 MTA Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on August 27, he can claim a victory over Golden Slipper winner Capitalist who ran fourth behind him in Group 3 $150,000 Smithfield RSL Club San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on August 13.
The Peter and Paul Snowden trained Capitalist was due to take on the older horses at weight for age in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night but was scratched when the track was downgraded because of the rain and saved for the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Capitalist has been struggling to regain his brilliant two year old form that saw him win the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
The John O’Shea trained Astern also suffered a surprise defeat last start when second to Capitalist’s stablemate Russian Revolution in the Group 2 $300,000 The Star Roman Consul (1200m) at Randwick on October 1 at his first run back after winning the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 10.
Russian Revolution is also nominated for the Coolmore Stud Stakes as is Astern’s stablemate Archives who is coming off a last start win in the Group 3 $150,000 Telstra Phonewords Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
The Mick Price trained Extreme Choice is a dual Group 1 winner and is dropping back to his own age group in the Coolmore Stud Stakes after beating the older horses at weight for age in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 30.
Extreme Choice proved to be the superior Victorian two year old when he took out the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield during the Melblurne Autumn Carnival.
Extreme Choice’s stablemate Flying Artie is also nominated for the Coolmore Stud Stakes but is yet to win at Group 1 level but returned from a spell with a stunning first up win in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 12.
Flying Artie was also among the top two year olds during his juvenile year with a second in the Blue Diamond Stakes followed by a third in the Golden Slipper.
Early market order for the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.30 Astern, $3.60 Extreme Choice, $4.40 Star Turn, $7.50 Fllying Artie, $9 Russian Revolution, $11 Capitalist, $21 Derryn, $34 Archives, Saracino, Verstappen, $41 Comin’ Through, Kentucky Miss, $51 Monolo Blahniq, Nikitas, $151 Apiata, Charnley River.