The Chris Waller trained Youngstar is the only mare to contest the 2018 Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.
Youngstar is one of three stayers Waller will saddle up in the tough two miler and the mare will join Melbourne Cup veteran Who Shot Thebarman and French import Finche.
Youngstar has drawn barrier eight and the lightly weighted mare will be ridden by Craig Williams who is chasing his first win in Australia’s most famous race.
Flemington track was downgraded to a heavy eight after the running of the first race today following heavy rain throughout the morning before being upgraded to a soft 7 but the wet conditions shouldn’t worry Youngstar who has won three times on a soft rated track.
Waller is happy with the Melbourne Cup lead up form of Youngstar but admits the lightly raced mare might lack a bit maturity to run out a tough 3200m.
“Youngstar carries the flag for Australia having been bred here and done all her racing here,” Waller wrote in The Age.
“My biggest concern with her is that she has only been racing for a little over six months.”
“The tough two-miler at Flemington requires a mature stayer. She is a four-year-old mare but when I look at her, I see her a younger filly that needs to furnish more and become stronger.
“But Winx was like her when she won her first Cox Plate at the same age. I’m certain she will stay and with Craig Williams able to ride the weight of 51.5 kilos comfortably, she will race a big race.
“She was never able to get into the Caulfield Cup because she was back in the field and they went so slow, but her closing sectionals were as good as any. Before that, she gave me and Winx a scare in the Turnbull Stakes.
“She was bought for a race like this.”
Youngstar ran a mighty race two starts back when second to her famous stablemate Winx in the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 27 but then never threatened when seventh to Best Solution in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
Youngstar is marked at $14 for the Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au while the Aidan O’Brien trained Yucatan and Ian Williams’ Magic Circle share favouritism at $7.