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Abela’s ‘Star’ to shine at Warragul

Paul Abela’s attention will be divided on Saturday night, with Group-winning stayer Five Star the headline act at Warragul, while Aston Lee and Auspicious Queen will take their place in the Group 2 Bendigo Cup heats.

Winner of the G3 Lizrene Speed Star (715m) at Sandown Park and Pink Diamond Champion Distance series at Bendigo in June, Five Star has returned to his brilliant best in recent weeks after his form tapered off following a Brisbane campaign, where he ran fourth in the G1 Queensland Cup.

“He came back from Brisbane a very tired dog and in hindsight I shouldn’t have started him in the (G3) Fireball final at The Meadows,” said Parwan-based Abela.

“I tipped him out after that and he’s come back enormous.

“He’s beginning and full of confidence and I reckon he’s going better now than when he won the Pink Diamond and Speed Star.”

Five Star, which has won 14 of his 38 starts, has bounced back with a vengeance, winning four of his last five starts, highlighted by a runaway 41.32sec Sandown victory, where he scored by a staggering 11 lengths.

Five Star is at the pointy end of betting in all the upcoming distance features and Abela is expecting him to continue building momentum at Warragul on Saturday, where the son of Fernando Bale is certain to start a short-priced favourite in the 680m special event, race 4 at 7.10pm.

“I wanted to take him up to Sydney on Wednesday night for the (G2) Sydney Cup heats but couldn’t get there because of COVID,” Abela explained.

“I’d planned to run him at The Meadows on Friday but they didn’t get a race, so Warragul was ‘Plan B’.

“It looks a nice race for him. He’s the class runner but he’s never been to Warragul before. I’m pretty confident that won’t be a problem but you don’t know.

WATCH: Five Star (6) returned to his brilliant best with a near-record 41.32sec 11L romp at Sandown Park on September 23.

“Hopefully he can get around the first corner without getting touched and then let rip down the back. If he jumps to the front that will be even better!”

“There’s only six in in the race but he’s got a wide draw and with a short run to the first corner he wouldn’t want to miss it (the start).

“Hopefully he can get around the first corner without getting touched and then let rip down the back. If he jumps to the front that will be even better!”

Abela has three Group 1 features in mind for Five Star before the year’s end.

“The plan for him is the Topgun Stayers into the Bold Trease into the Sale Cup. I just want to keep racing him week-to-week rather than trialling him to keep his fitness up,” he said.

Abela also has two contenders in Saturday night’s G2 Bendigo Cup heats, with Auspicious Queen (Box 6) a $34 outsider in heat three, while $8.50 chance Aston Lee (Box 2) will face the all-conquering Ferdinand Boy in the fifth heat.

“Aston Lee is drawn well and he’s nice and fresh,” Abela said.

“I’m rapt with the way the dog is going but I’m up against Ferdinand Boy, which makes it hard!

“Auspicious Queen is a bit of a throw at the stumps. She’s actually flying but hasn’t been having any luck with her box draws, so we thought we’d put her in because she’s due for a  good box and she’s got Box 6, so that didn’t work.

“I’ve also got a first starter at Bendigo on Sunday in the Vic Breeders heats called Aston Ziebell. He’s by Aston Kimetto out of Aston Dinnigan and he’s a really nice pup.”

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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