Play Master has been backed into 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap betting markets of $9.50 and trainer Peter Smith is confident that his star galloper will be competitive in his maiden opportunity at Group level tomorrow.
Play Master earnt a start in the Aurie’s Star Handicap after he scored the biggest win of his racing career to date in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 11 and according to Smith has trained on strongly coming out of the race.
Smith admits that Play Master faces a tough challenge in the Aurie’s Star Handicap, but he told Racing.com that he is taking confidence from the fact that the Masterprint gelding won a faster time than last year’s winner Tiger Tees at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago.
“This exact day last year he won a restricted race and Tiger Tees won the Aurie’s Star and Play Master ran three lengths quicker,” Smith told Racing.com.
“He was deep into a prep, so I thought he was definitely up to the level.
“He’s in really good order, he came through that run really well.
“He goes very well down the straight so we just had to wait for the right one.
“He seems in brilliant order, better than he was (last start) I reckon.
“He’s got toughness and ability, which you don’t often get and he tries.
“When he’s right he just doesn’t like other horses getting past him.
“I’m very happy with him and I’ll go down there expecting him to run a really good race.”
Play Master has been a consistent performer during his racing career to date, but he has gone to another level during his past two racing preparations.
He made a slow start to his winter campaign when he was beaten at Albury on March 26 and he was only fair at Flemington on April 11, but he finished an unlucky fourth in the Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on April 30 and he returned to winning form in the ALH Group Plate (1000m) at Caulfield on May 16.
Play Master ran well without winning in the Rod Johnson Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on June 13 and the Takeover Target Tribute Handicap (1100m) at the same venue on June 27 before his impressive win in the All Victorian Sprint Series Final.
Shiraz ($2.20) remains a clear favourite in 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap betting markets and he is a clear favourite from Trust In A Gust ($3.70) and Play Master ($9.50).