Hierarchal is taking a somewhat more conventional path to the Victoria Derby than Fiveandahalfstar but his trainer Anthony Cummings is counting on the same result.
On the corresponding Saturday three years ago, Fiveandahalfstar ran in a benchmark race in Sydney and a week later won the prestigious Classic at Flemington as a $41 chance at his 15th start.
Cummings’ latest Derby aspirant Hierarchal is less experienced and will be going to the races for just the fourth time when he contests Saturday’s Group Two Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
At start No.3 Hierarchal was thrown in the deep end and ran a creditable fourth in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes with little luck during the race.
“They are different types and Fiveandahalfstar had a fair bit more racing at this stage of his career,” Cummings said.
“Hierarchal has to go up a notch again but has proved himself at this level.
“He was doing his best work in the last 100 metres of the Spring Champion after he got bumped off course.
“He kept on fighting and didn’t get beaten far which shows me he has the makings of a stayer and the Derby distance (2500m) will suit.
“We took him to Moonee Valley on Tuesday and he handled the track well so he should run well in the Vase.”
Fiveandahalfstar went on to win the BMW the following autumn but then spent almost two years off the scene with injury.
He had four runs earlier this year but a minor problem surfaced which was enough to convince his owners and trainer he had done enough.
Fiveandahalfstar was retired with a view to becoming a “nanny” to young horses.
The family is not finished with on the track with his half-sister Ritzy on a path to the VRC Oaks.
The filly finished third in a 2000m race against older mares at Ballarat on Thursday and Cummings said she would also appreciate the 2500m at Flemington.
Stablemate Pittsburgh is the emergency for the Inglis Banner for two-year-olds at Moonee Valley with the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington on November 7 the back-up option.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au