The $200,000, Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday offers the spoils of a ‘win and you’re in ticket’ into the world’s richest mile race, The All-Star Mile at The Valley.
But one horse entered to run in Saturday’s race is unlikely to take up that offer at The Valley on March 13 should he be successful. The Lindsay Park team of Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes is instead aiming Fifty Stars (IRE) at the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 6.
Fifty Stars has won the past two editions of the Blamey Stakes having had one lead up run, in the C F Orr Stakes, and then gone on to win at his following starts.
Two years ago, after winning the Blamey, Fifty Stars went on to claim the Ajax Stakes in Sydney while last year he won the Australian Cup, to give Lindsay Park three straight wins in the 2000m race.
Unfortunately, this year, Fifty Stars had to undergo a different program into the Blamey, making a trip to Sydney to contest the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 13.
A cough after trackwork resulted in some mucus being discovered that required treatment, forcing Fifty Stars to miss his preferred kick-off in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 6.
“I would have preferred to have run him in C F Orr which would have given him that three weeks into the Blamey, but it was not to be,” Dabernig said.
“Jason Collett rang me after his Apollo run and said ‘you probably couldn’t see it, but I was the last horse to pull up’.
“I said to ride him quiet, but he did ride him very quiet. He sat right back and came into it when it was all over.
“That is what he does over 1400 (metres). He often looks like he needs the run and gets to the mile and then comes into his own.”
Dabernig said Fifty Stars had done the trip to Sydney and back plenty of times and it had never worried him previously.
He said Fifty Stars had scoped all fine since returning from Sydney.
“Hopefully it was just a bout of mucus which they can get at times and he’s now ready to show his best.”
The Blamey Stakes has attracted 21 nominations, including Godolphin's Group 3 Carlyon Cup winner Best Of Days (GB). The Waller stable have nominated five, Dabiyr (IRE), Humidor (NZ), Funstar, Star Of The Seas (NZ) and Toffee Tongue (NZ) with the latter three duel nominated for the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
Also on Saturday’s program is the Group 1 Australian Guineas which has 28 three-year-olds left in contention following last week’s first declarations.
Saturday’s meeting also sees the running of the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m), with … nominations, and the Group 3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m), attracting … entries.
In total 178 nominations have been received across the nine races with the track rated a Good 4 on Monday.
Weather in Melbourne for the week leading up to, and including Saturday, is for temperatures in the low 20’s with no rain forecast.
Australian Guineas meeting at Flemington on Saturday, picture Racing Photos