Mile temptation could be too hard to resist

David Hayes and Gerry Ryan will face an enviable dilemma if Fifty Stars joins a select group of horses to notch successive Group 3 Blamey Stakes (1600m) victories.

With a $5 million All-Star Mile carrot wildcard on offer to the winner, the Blamey Stakes is notionally an inviting option for Fifty Stars’ connections – but there are other considerations at play, including the pursuit of more black type.

The Irish import is by super sire Sea The Stars but is yet to snare a Group 1, a feat the five-year-old would attain with Australian Cup success in a weeks’ time.

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Fifty Stars is chasing back-to-back wins in the Blamey Stakes at Flemington. Picture: Michael KleinSource:News Corp Australia

“If he wins the Blamey, we’d have to have a team meeting to find out what Gerry wants to do,” Hayes said. “The Australian Cup has been the goal. The horse hasn’t won a Group 1 yet but the prizemoney of the All-Star Mile is obviously tempting.”

The All-Star Mile does not carry black type — yet — but has drawn the support of international panel experts after last year’s high-rating edition won by Mystic Journey.

Fifty Stars downed stablemate So Si Bon in last year’s Blamey and if he were to repeat the performance he would emulate some of the sport’s finest performers.

Among those horses to land consecutive Blamey Stakes are Tobin Bronze, Sailor’s Guide, Dhaulagiri, Hyperno, Vo Rogue, Better Loosen Up and Durbridge.

Fifty Stars (fourth) and So Si Bon (eighth) turned in contrasting runs in the CF Orr Stakes (1400m) behind Alabama Express, but Hayes believes there is nothing between the pair heading to Flemington.

“Fifty Stars’ first-up run was excellent and So Si’s was below par but I think he (So Si Bon) has come on since then,” Hayes said.

“So Si’s run at Caulfield was a bit tempo-related and he blew out. He’s done quite a bit of work since and he’ll improve for that run.

So Si Bon will run in the All-Star Mile if he can win the Blamey Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“They quinellaed the race last year and I’m hoping they can do it again. So Si Bon would definitely run in the All-Star Mile if he won the Blamey.”

Fifty Stars is TAB $3.60 favourite ahead of Night Watch ($4.20) and Admiral’s Joker ($5.50). So Si Bon is a $7 chance.

Shane Nichols-trained Streets of Avalon snared the first All-Star Mile wildcard by winning the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

A second wildcard is on offer in the Blamey with the remaining three runners to be chosen by the All-Star Mile wildcard panel.

The final selection will be revealed on Monday.



Michael Manley

David Vandyke is taking a practical approach to Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Guineas with his star galloper Alligator Blood and his second bout with Kiwi star Catalyst.

Even though the scoreboard is one-nil in Alligator Blood’s favour, Vandyke said he wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed if Catalyst turned the tables in the 1600m race. But Vandyke said he couldn’t wait for the rematch.

He said Alligator Blood would turn up to the races in the same condition as he was when he won the C.S Hayes Stakes, but he’s wary that the Kiwi might be in better shape.

“Catalyst is a mighty horse,” Vandyke said. “We’ve been up for a long time having little freshen-ups along the way.

Alligator Blood (right) pipped Catalyst in a thrilling race up the straight in the CS Hayes Stakes. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

“He’s had two runs back from a spell, and if he’s improved from the C.S Hayes, it would be no surprise if he beat us. I can understand why he is favourite. If the race finished in market order, I’d still be pretty happy if (Alligator Blood) can finish second in a Group 1.”

Catalyst is a $2.50 favourite and Alligator Blood second favourite at $3.10 with TAB Fixed odds.

“I’m confident Alligator Blood will run well and I’m confident he’ll do his best,” he said. “The signs are there he’s as well as he was before the C.S. Hayes Stakes.”

Vandyke said his other reservation was the toll the previous run took.

“He’s coming off a tough contest,” he said. “He was in a dogfight, and you can’t be sure he’ll do it again until he’s out there again. All the signs are there that he’ll run well.”

Trainer David Vandyke and horse, Alligator Blood Picture Jay TownSource:News Corp Australia

The trainer said Alligator Blood could end up in front by default as no one else would take it up. As for the All-Star Mile, Vandyke said he would keep an eye on the gelding before he committed to another start.

“I don’t know how he’ll come through another tough race and then front up again a fortnight later over a mile,” he said. “I’m taking a sensible approach and I’ll make a definitive decision next week.”


Leo Schlink

Black Caviar’s fourth foal Ready For Caviar has edged closer to her race debut after winning a jumpout. The daughter of Australia’s greatest sprinter, Ready For Caviar clocked 48.97 seconds while shading Team Hawkes-trained Luisell over 800m at Flemington.

The pair had a widening margin on Troy Corstens’ My Squeeze Louise.

“She did a good job,” trainer David Hayes said. “She improved a lot from her first jumpout. We’ll see how she pulls up before deciding where she might start.”

Lindsay Park trained Black Caviar’s first offspring Oscietra, winner of two races from five starts, but Hayes rates Ready For Caviar a superior type.

The Listed Redoubte’s Choice Stakes at Caulfield on March 14 is an option.

Originally published asMile temptation could be too hard to resist

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