Tuesday, 20 March 2012
: They've come from far and wide for Wednesday's $125,000 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap, but it could well be a gelding from just down the road who trumps the lot of them.
| Star Of Octagonal|
Photo by Racing and Sports
Cessnock speedster Star Of Octagonal
will take on some of Australia's strongest stables in the 1400m sprint, and boasts some excellent form despite not having raced for 39 days.
So good do his three summer runs look, the five-year-old appears capable of upstaging a stack of Sydney rivals, Melbourne pair Dao Dao
and Under The Eiffel
, and New Zealand flyer He's Remarkable
Star Of Octagonal, trained by Todd Howlett, is rated a $9.50 shot on TAB Sportsbet fixed odds to win the race.
Gai Waterhouse's Fast Clip
is favourite at $4, with Under The Eiffel considered a $4.80 chance.
He's Remarkable, who lost last year's Group 1 Railway Stakes on a protest, is on the third line of betting at $5.50.
“It's a hard race obviously,” Howlett said.
“Gai's horse, it's a nice horse, there's Dao Dao, it's a pretty open field.
“This has always been on the plan. We've just been going one race at a time and seeing how we've been going.
“I'm happy with him.”
Howlett's well-bred flyer hasn't stepped out since scoring a comfortable win over Praecido
in open grade at Rosehill on the second Saturday of last month.
Praecido won the listed Parramatta Cup two runs later.
Prior to the third-up Rosehill win, Star Of Octagonal collected a pair of third placings, behind Rain Affair
in the Carrington Stakes at Warwick Farm and Steps In Time
Rain Affair went on to dominant wins in the Expressway Stakes and Apollo Stakes, both at Group 2 level, before running sixth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
Steps In Time meanwhile has since won the Group 2 Breeder Classic and the listed Wiggle Stakes, both at Warwick Farm.
Howlett had intended to run his horse at least once more since last month's win but persistent rain has thwarted his plans.
“There hasn't been a lot around, we took him to Brisbane and it got too wet up there and we didn't run, we haven't had a run for awhile,” Howlett said.
“I'm really happy with it [the form]. It's good for us.”