Trainer Anthony Cummings could wait until as late as Saturday morning before giving the all clear to start Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 $500,000 M. J. Bale Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar ran another courageous race last week at Rosehill when run down in the final few strides by Foreteller in the Group 1 $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill and Cummings has been in two minds whether to back up the three year old this week.
“Put it this way, he’s more of a chance to run now than he was an hour ago after his gallop this morning,” Cummings said after track work this morning.
“The horse pulled up a bit big and had a blow, so that is significant.” he added.
“I’ll accept with him and we’ll make a final decision on Friday, maybe even Saturday morning.”
Cummings is keen to add another Derby to Fiveandahalfstar’s record with the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 13 his main Autumn goal and winning the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last Spring.
The Randwick trainer is aiming to have the Hotel Grand gelding at his peak for the Derby and has pencilled in the Guineas, and the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 6 as lead up runs in consecutive weeks, and if the plan comes together the three year old will have run in four Group 1s in four weeks.
Fiveandahalfstar has been a model of consistency without recording a win this campaign and has picked up four runner’s up cheques from four starts so far this Autumn.
Fiveandahalfstar was beaten by Mulaazem first up in the Group 2 $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 9 before running second to Super Cool on two occasions in the Group 2 $220,000 BMW Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 23 and the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 9.
Kiwi star It’s A Dundeel looks the toughest for Fiveandahalfstar after returning to the winner’s list in great fashion in the Group 1 $550,000 Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 16.
The New Zealand three year old is set to start the favourite with the step up to 2000m more to his liking after his win over 1600m at Warwick Farm.
The Peter Snowden trained Tatra also returned to form finishing third to It’s A Dundeel and connections of Hvasstan expect a bold showing after the Victorian scored a comfortable win in the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 15.
Fiveandahalfstar has drawn the outside of the nine horse field and Peter Robl is certain to let him roll forward and take up the lead.
James McDonald on It’s A Dundeel will get a good run from gate three with plenty of pace on with Tatra from barrier four also an on pace runner.