Shiraz was included in the 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap field that was released this morning and trainer Tony McEvoy does not think that he could have the promising sprinter any better heading into the Group 3 event at Flemington on Saturday.
The Aurie’s Star Handicap was always set to be the next race start for Shiraz after he won at Rosehill Gardens on July 18, but McEvoy elected to include the Zariz gelding in the late nominations for the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday before he opted to stick with his original course and Shiraz to Melbourne for a maiden black-type start.
“We are going to Melbourne and we are going to go to the Aurie Star,” McEvoy told Sky Racing HQ.
“The Missile changed complexion completely and the Aurie Star has stayed the same.
“The Aurie Star was always my goal, but when there was just six horses in the Missile it was silly for me not to consider it because he is already in Sydney.
“He gets into the Aurie Star with 54 and he has to carry 58 and a half at weight-for-age in the Missile.
“It makes a lot of sense that if you have a handicapper and they are on the minimum in the handicap that you stay in the handicap.”
Shiraz started his winter campaign with an impressive win over a strong field in the TAB.Com.Au Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 4 and he proved that win was no fluke when he took out the Primo Smallgoods Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 18 – a race where he beat home Gai Waterhouse-trained Countryman, who won at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
McEvoy said that Shiraz has come out of his two wins this preparation in outstanding condition and he is confident that the six-year-old can maintain his stellar form in the 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap this weekend.
“I am very happy with him,” McEvoy said.
“He has held his form really well, he gets into the zone this horse and all we have to do is just steer him.
“I don’t think we can get him any better than where he is and we have just held him on line.”
Shiraz is currently available at 2015 Aurie’s Star Handicap odds of $2.45 with Ladbrokes and he is a narrow favourite from two-time Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust ($2.90).