Five Star is back to the first-rate form which saw him claim two major distance events in June.
Trained at Parwan by Paul Abela, Five Star emerged as a distance revelation when successful in the G3 Lizrene Speed Star (715m) at Sandown Park and the Pink Diamond Champion Distance (660m) at Bendigo.
The Mar ’19 Fernando Bale x Got One Back dog then journeyed to Albion Park in Brisbane for a three-start hit-and-run mission. He finished fourth in the four-dog G3 Super Stayers (710m) prior to finishing fourth in the G1 Queensland Cup (710m).
However, Abela says Five Star’s below-par performances in the Sunshine State were trainer error.
“He’s my mate, and I let him down. “The Queensland trip… In hindsight, would I do it again? Probably not.
“In fact, I shouldn’t have taken him. It knocked him around a bit.
“There are some dogs you shouldn’t travel with and he’s one of them. I’ve learned massively from my mistake.”
Five Star returned to Victoria and finished eighth in the G3 Fireball (725m) at The Meadows, which precipitated a few weeks away from the racetrack. And the freshen up did him the world of good.
He won at Shepparton (650m) on August 16 and nine days later finished third to Mepunga Ruby in the G3 Speed Star (725m) at The Meadows.
And it was a revitalised Five Star who turned up in a G3 Top Cat Video Cup heat (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday.
Five Star ($2.70F) produced a first-class effort, registering an effortless five-length 42.41sec (Best) victory. He notched his 11th win from 34 starts and lifted his stakes to $140,315.
“I made the decision to give him a short spell and let him enjoy life again,” Abela said. “He’s the quirkiest dog I’ve trained, but I noticed him getting back to his old self – just in his attitude and idiosyncrasies.
“So, his heat win didn’t surprise me… But what I can’t believe are his TAB odds for the final (September 11).
WATCH: Five Star (2) blitzes his rivals, clocking 42.41sec (Best) in a G3 Top Cat Video Cup heat at The Meadows.
“I don’t know if that Queensland trip caused a loss of respect. He should at least be equal favourite with Mepunga Ruby, who I think is the one to beat.”
The Jeff Britton-trained Mepunga Ruby (Box 1) is TAB’s $2.50 top elect for the $25,000 to-the-winner final, ahead of kennelmate Hank The Hustler (Box 4) at $3.20. Five Star (Box 6) is on the third line of betting at $4.50.
Amazingly, Five Star’s winning heat time was five lengths quicker than Hank The Hustler (42.73sec) and nine lengths superior to Mepunga Ruby (42.96sec). Go figure!
Abela and Five Star share a “man’s best friend” bond.
After his Pink Diamond win, Abela said: “He’s a special animal; I’ve never rapt a dog before, but he’s a beauty. This dog is my mate.”
And, at the time, part-owner Paul Baker said: “He (Five Star) is young, a bit immature, but he’s got a lot of upside.”
But roll on to September and Abela says Five Star has turned into a “real race dog”.
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