Star to kick-off Spring in Aurie’s Star Handicap 2017

Posted by Sports News First on 10/8/2017
Filled in: Racing

A host of feature spring races are in the thoughts of trainer Shane Nichols as he prepares his stable flag bearer I Am A Star for her return at a track where the mare is unbeaten.

I Am A Star resumes in Saturday’s Group Three Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington and while Nichols has bigger targets in sight for the four-year-old, he is certainly not discounting her making an immediate impact.

“With 58 kilos and giving the older geldings weight, she’ll certainly have to be on song on Saturday,” Nichols said.

“But I do expect her to run really well.

“She’s not really ripped up for Saturday. This is the kick-off point and hopefully one of the lesser races she will run in during the spring.

“We’re trying to have her really spot-on for the Memsie and then if she runs well there we might go to the Makybe Diva.”

The $1 million Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) is three weeks after Saturday while the Group One Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) is on September 16.

Nichols said the Group Two Stocks Stakes against her own sex at Moonee Valley in late September could be an ideal target after that.

There are a number of other options including the Underwood Stakes and Epsom Handicap on the same weekend, and the Toorak Handicap, depending on how last year’s Myer Classic winner is going.

A defence of the Myer and even a Cox Plate tilt are among the later spring considerations.

“There’s a lot of options for her,” Nichols said.

Nichols said sending I Am A Star to the paddock after her third in the Robert Sangster Stakes on May 6 rather than pressing on to The Goodwood two weeks later, allowed her to have a good break and she had returned a stronger horse.

“She looks as good as she has looked and I’m very happy with her at this stage,” he said.

I Am A Star’s Flemington starts have netted wins in the Myer and Kewney Stakes last season while she won down the straight as a two-year-old.

I Am A Star will be giving weight to eight of her nine rivals on Saturday with Australian Guineas winner Hey Doc topweight with 59kg.