Boom Victorian stayer Five Star will be striving to continue his meteoric rise to stardom in Brisbane on Thursday night when he starts favourite in the four-greyhound G3 Orson Allen Super Stayers (710m) at Albion Park.
However, Parwan trainer Paul Abela has cautioned punters that he wouldn’t be rushing to take the $1.95 being offered by TAB.
Five Star only stepped up to ‘700’ for the first time just on a month ago in the G1 Sandown Cup heats.
But the son of Fernando Bale has already given Abela a long-awaited breakthrough Group victory in the G3 Lizrene Speed Star (715m) at Sandown, while he was a runaway winner of the Pink Diamond Champion Distance final (660m) at Bendigo last Friday.
“I always rated the dog, but he’s come so far so quickly,” Abela said.
“It’s been a great couple of weeks and it’s a bit scary to see where he might end up. He hasn’t let me down at all and hopefully he keeps improving.
“He put the writing on the wall when he jumped straight to the front at Bendigo. He’s showed me that pace in trials and he’s finally done it in a race.
“He just pulls up so good after his races. Even the stewards commented after his win at Bendigo that he wasn’t blowing at all.”
After winning nine from 26 in Victoria, Five Star’s next test will come ‘on the road’ when he tackles his first interstate assignment in Thursday’s half-field Super Stayers, which carries a $25,250 winner’s purse.
TAB has installed Five Star favourite, ahead of Zipping Niseko ($3.20), Maggie Moo Moo ($4.40) and Sir Truculent ($8.00), all of which have impressive form at Albion Park.
Abela has conceded that travelling to Brisbane, unfamiliar conditions and a different handler are all cause for concern.
“If I was a punter, I’d be wary,” Abela admitted.
“I’m a bit surprised he’s favourite actually because it’s his first time on a plane, first time out of those boxes and first time I haven’t handled him, and he can be a funny dog.
“He’ll be handled by Peter Lagogiane because I can’t go to the track under Queensland’s COVID restrictions.
“Thursday night is really a trial for him because he’s never been there before, so I’m rapt it’s a four-dog race. The late Glenn Smith, who was a friend of mine, always told me it takes at least four looks to get used to Albion Park.
“He’s getting paid to trial! His grand final is in three weeks (G1 Queensland Cup).”
While delighted with Five Star’s rapid-fire ascent into the distance elite, Abela’s other exciting staying prospect Aston Ulysses has been sidelined since May 8 when injured in the G3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup final, won by another Super Stayers contender in Zipping Niseko.
“He broke a fibula. I’ve had him X-rayed and it hasn’t healed yet,” Abela explained.
“I’m shattered because I should be taking two dogs everywhere.
“But Aston Ulysses will be back, and I’m really excited about the big staying races coming up at the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, Victoria will launch a three-pronged challenge in the $25,000 to-the-winner Listed TAB Super Sprinters (520m).
Flying our flag will be sprint queen Qwara Bale (Box 6), powerhouse Equalizer (Box 5) and Music Event (Box 7).
G1 Sapphire Crown and G2 Warrnambool Cup winner Qwara Bale (who is chasing her eighth win from her past nine starts) is TAB’s $2.50 favourite, followed by dual G1 finalist and seven-time Group finalist Equalizer at $4. G3 Cup Night Sprint winner and G2 Shepparton Cup finalist Music Event is $5.50.
WATCH: New staying sensation Five Star (7) ‘sparkles’ in the Pink Diamond Champion Distance final at Bendigo last week.
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