AURIE'S STAR HANDICAP - 1200m, Flemington R7
The Aurie’s Star has traditionally been a good horse’s race, kickstarting as it does the new racing season. Dual Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh is on the honour roll, along with other high quality sprinters like Niconero, Temple of Boom, Tiger Tees, Hey Doc, and The Astrologist last year.
Shaun Mathrick’s Cause For Concern is the new kid on the block, having won three of his last four while progressing through the grades as a late-season three-year-old. He’s having his fourth start in a row at Flemington, so is very familiar with the track as he takes on open company for the first time. He has a lovely turn of foot on him, and has found a few hardy competitors in this race to see exactly what his level is.
Ingratiating, General Beau and It’sourtime have been bumping heads across winter, and ran the trifecta in the Bletchingly last time out. That was at WFA, where they all carried the same, weight but they meet now under handicap conditions.
Ingratiating won the Bletchingly after a plain performance first-up in the Monash. He’s a good honest sprinter in these lower black-type affairs, and while he may not scale the heights of Group 1 glory, he is a decent measuring stick. He’ll have to carry 59kg’s and give all others weight here, which won’t be easy.
General Beau has 57kg’s, and once again was just found wanting at the end of 1200m at Caulfield. That was his eighth go at the trip that he is yet to win at, and he’s having his ninth crack at six furlongs here. In fact, it’s been almost two years since he won at any distance, but he will no doubt put in his usual game performance.
It’sourtime is the “weight” horse out of the Bletchingly, meeting Ingratiating 3.5kg’s better off and General Beau 1.5kg’s to the good. He just couldn’t reel the other two in after giving both a start, and he prefers the Flemington straight. Michael Dee has flown back from overseas, which may be critical given he partnered this horse to his last win earlier this year.
Of the others, Much Much Better creates a lot of interest at his first Melbourne start. Getting within a length of subsequent dual Group 1 winner Think About It earlier this year jumps off the formguide, he mixed it with better horses than these in the Expressway, and claimed the scalp of Gravina one day. He has been carrying big weights, and will appreciate 54kg’s on his back.
Zethus gets around and isn’t usually far away, but you do feel he’d need to find another level here. Chassis is a seven-year-old mare now, but has found form for Maher/Eustace. Here To Shock is first-up after finishing last prep with three wins in a row at 1400-1600m, and will likely find these too sharp, but you wouldn’t write him off either.
There are a few engaged here that like to get on with things up front, so the speed should be genuine enough, although these straight races are often hard to predict.
Selections: 1.It’sourtime 2.Much Much Better 3.Ingratiating 4.General Beau
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds