IT’S STAR BILLING FOR CUP
Weir’s mare puts Almandin to the sword
DARREN Weir booked another Melbourne Cup runner when his impressive mare Amelie’s Star yesterday scored a ticket into the $6.2 million race, upstaging last year’s Cup winner Almandin to win The Bart Cummings at Flemington.
Amelie’s Star firmed with UBET to $14 for the Melbourne Cup, and $6 second favourite for the Caulfield Cup, although Weir said he was unsure which pathway the mare would take before the first Tuesday in November.
“I don’t really know,” Weir said of the six-year-old mare’s lead-up run before the Melbourne Cup.
“But it’s a good problem to have.
“She has had a beautiful preparation, she is going to have to have a run between now and then. We will just map out what we do, but she is very sound and has lots and lots of miles in her legs.
“We just need to get things right between now and the Melbourne Cup.”
Weir, who won the race with Prince Of Penzance in 2015, could have a handful of horses in the Melbourne Cup this year, including Japanese horse Admire Deus.
He said Amelie’s Star ($4.60) was beaten by a bad barrier at her previous start in the Naturalism at Caulfield, and had the perfect gate yesterday, unlike Almandin ($2.20), who performed sound- ly in running fourth, beaten 3.3 lengths, despite being wide most of the way.
Granddukeoftuscany ($91) was second, while Weir’s Kellstorm ($51) performed well to finish third.
“It is amazing with barriers, at Caulfield last start we drew wide, had to go back and just got into an impossible position,” he said.
“Today, from the barrier, we got the perfect run and got the result. Almandin got the perfect run last start and today drew a bit wide and that’s a big part of racing – the barriers.”
Almandin’s jockey Damien Oliver said the horse “didn’t let go like he did last start”.
But the Robert Hickmotttrained horse lost few admirers, with UBET keeping him as Melbourne Cup favourite at $5.50.
KEEN Array has earned a possible return to Group 1 company after a narrow victory in the Gilgai Stakes .
Trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Keen Array ended a winless streak dating back to the Caulfield Stakes last year after staving off Queenslander Sold For Song and Malibu Style.
“It’s a good time to have him in form and this opens up plenty of options for him,” Dabernig said. “It has just taken a little bit to get him fit.”
PLENTY IN TANK: Amelie's Star powers away to win The Bart Cummings at Flemington. Picture: Getty Images