Shane Nichols’ promising Group 3 winning filly I Am A Star will kick off a spring campaign targeting the Thousand Guineas this weekend with a first-up run in Caulfield’s $150,000 Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m).
On Monday Racing Victoria received a bumper 22 nominations for this Saturday’s Quezette Stakes, one of the key support races on the P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day card.
Early favourite in futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au on the three-years-old fillies’ sprint is the Mornington-trained daughter of I Am Invincible, I Am A Star ($5.50).
She has won two of her three career starts to date including most recently a May 21 victory at Morphettville in Adelaide’s Group 3 National Stakes (1200m).
Saluting for the punters as the $2.50 favourite in that winter win, the New Zealand-bred I Am A Star had an easy three lengths to spare on the line over the runner-up Bangs.
She has had one official trial since when on Monday she finished second behind The Seductress in an 800m heat at Cranbourne in the wet, Nichols telling the media earlier in the week he was happy with the performance.
“She jumped well and travelled easily, we weren’t out to do anything silly,” he said.
“She drew barrier one and just landed on the fence and stayed there.”
Nichols is confident of a nice resuming run on the weekend and hopes I Am A Star continues to do things right as he eyes a return to Caulfield Racecourse on October 8 for the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).
“She’s good to go on Saturday but will improve for the run, then we’ll go three weeks into the Atlantic Jewel and then the Guineas Prelude,” he said.
The $120,000 Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) runs at Moonee Valley on Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day, September 3, followed by the $200,000 Group 2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24.
Thousand Guineas nominations were taken last week, first acceptances for the mile classic closing on September 6.
Nichols has had just one previous Thousand Guineas starter without success, and I Am A Star is currently rated a $21 shot in all-in betting to take it out this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Her trainer admitted jockey Steven King, aboard the filly for her may wins at Flemington and Morphettville as well as Monday’s trial, had doubts over how I Am A Star would go over the 1600m.
“I think she will but Steven has no doubt she can get the Guineas trip. She’s got a bit stronger, great big backside on her and she’s sound,” Nichols said.
“I’d like to see her hitting the line strongly over 1400 before we decide if we go to the Thousand Guineas.
“If she does it will be great but if not we can always drop back to the sprints and there are plenty of races for her over the spring.”
Other notable Quezette Stakes nominations also in the Thousand Guineas mix this season include the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained Snitzel filly Modern Wonder ($15) who won the Listed Dequetteville Stakes (1050m) in Adelaide on debut and Athena Lass ($21).
Prepared by David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Athena Lass is also a daughter of boom sire Snitzel and has had one run for one win over 1000m at Moonee Valley on a Heavy (8) track from mid-July.