STAR TO TAKE CEN­TRE STAGE

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - MATT JONES

ON Wednesday I Am A Star was rated a $15 chance to win to­mor­row’s Group 1 Toorak Hand­i­cap at Caulfield.

And trainer Shane Ni­chols was be­wil­dered.

“I was sur­prised when she opened at 15/1. It thought she’d be 5/1. I’m pretty con­fi­dent she’ll run well and she can win this race,” he said.

“I’d be very sur­prised if she started at those odds. There will be money for her for sure.”

The poor bar­rier (14) is the main thing that’s against her and a le­git­i­mate con­cern for trainer, but he’s got a good jockey on board in Ben Mel­ham to hope­fully negate that.

If he can find a good spot for her, ex­pect the 2016 Myer Clas­sic win­ner to give her ri­vals a stern test.

“She’s bang on tar­get. She worked as well as she’s ever worked on Tues­day morn­ing,” Ni­chols said.

“She’s so tractable. She’s got a heap of gate speed and she can drop the bri­dle and relax then quicken up.

“She can get nice horses off the bri­dle and out of their com­fort zone quickly be­cause she can whip up some very good fur­longs.”

The last-start Stock Stakes win­ner will head to the Myer after to­mor­row’s race, which Ni­chols said could be her best op­por­tu­nity to win a Group 1 this preparation.

“It could be her best chance. The Myer will tough and there will be a lot of horses from the Cox Plate that will back up on fi­nal day of the car­ni­val in the Emi­rates Stakes,” he said.

“There’s some nice horses get­ting a bit of weight off her but she de­serves it and they’ll know she’s there.”

“Apart from the wet track, I thought she would have gone close in the Don­caster in the spring and she’s going as well now as she was then and this is no Don­caster.”

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