Co-trainer Craig Widdison is hopeful that progressive galloper Star Rolling can measure up to the highest of level of racing during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and contest the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8.
Star Rolling is yet to make his debut at Group level but has performed well in just seven race starts and Widdison, who trains in partnership with Peter Morgan, told RSN this morning that the Casino Prince gelding had relished his time in the spelling paddock.
“Star Rolling is back in and he is pretty close to trialing,” Widdison said.
“We are really happy with him and he is going well.
“He didn’t put on a lot of weight in the paddock, which was good because he is a round sort of a horse.
“We can’t fault him at this stage.
“We are hoping, if he can measure up, to head towards the Australian Cup.”
Star Rolling started his racing career with a seventh place finish at Seymour in April last year before recording his maiden race win at Wodonga and taking out both the Rod Johnson Handicap (2000m) and Brian Beattie Handicap (2000m) at Flemington during the winter.
The four-year-old returned to the races, after a brief freshen-up, for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and failed to fire in a handicap event at Moonee Valley before winning the Listed Penang Trophy (1800m) at Morphettville in impressive fashion.
Star Rolling finished his campaign with a flat fifth place finish behind Pakal, Sertorius and Mourinho in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025,) and Widdison admits that the preparation did not go quiet to plan with his star galloper.
“It was sort of a mixed up preparation and he didn’t really get to go exactly where we wanted to,” Widdison said.
“We had to start him first-up over 1200m and he went straight to 1800m in Adelaide.
“His rating just wasn’t high enough to plot the path that we wanted to.”
The Whittlesea-based trainer is looking ahead to bigger and better things with Star Rolling and is confident that the Listed winner has the talent to be competitive at weight-for-age level.
“He is really easy to do anything with and he just keeps maturing,” Widdison said.
“He is a pretty good horse to train like that.”
Widdison and Morgan are chasing their first victory at Group level since classy mare Oasis Bloom took out the 2012 Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.