Chief de Beers Handicap 2015: Hammersley looks to Stars for next win

Group One winning jockey Paul Hammersley is confident he can celebrate his return to Queensland with a win aboard Dances On Stars at Doomben on Saturday.

Hammersley has three rides at Doomben and Dances On Stars looks to be the pick of them in the Listed Chief de Beers Handicap (1110m).

The jockey, who won the 2002 Queensland Oaks on the Gerald Ryan-trained Mon Mekki when he was a three-kilogram claiming apprentice, has ridden close to 500 winners and 18 months ago decided to try his luck in Sydney.

Hammersley rode 105 winners during his southern stay, mainly at provincial and country tracks, before electing to return to Queensland where he will be based at the Gold Coast.

“It was pretty good considering I rode for six months with a cracked wrist. I didn’t realise it until I finally had to have a stint out of the saddle to let it heal,” Hammersley said.

“My wife wasn’t entirely happy in the south so we decided to come back to the Coast and roll the dice during the winter carnival.”

Hammersley has maintained a steady stream of winners for Ryan since their Group One success 13 years ago and the pair will link again on Saturday with Dances On Stars.

“Dances On Stars looks a good way to get back into Brisbane racing and he has some class about him,” Hammersley said.

Dances On Stars will be competing at his fourth Brisbane winter carnival where he has been a consistent performer and multiple stakes placegetter.

Ryan said the horse would kick off his campaign at the Gold Coast ahead of targets that could include the BTC Sprint and QTC Cup.

The trainer also remains hopeful the five-year-old can make the step up to Group One class this winter.

“If he measures up he might even have a go at the Group One Stradbroke Handicap this year,” Ryan said.

“It is over 1350 metres at Doomben and that will suit him.”

Dances On Stars will face 13 rivals in the Chief de Beers including the resuming Cape Kidnappers and the Tony Gollan-trained trio of Rocket To Glory, The Storeman and Whiskey Allround.

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