Bigger Star Scares Miller


Trainer Simon Miller has sounded an ominous warning to his rivals ahead of Sunday’s Listed Pinjarra Classic (1300m), Achernar Star is back bigger and ready to make a statement this campaign.

Already a Group 1 placegetter, Achernar Star produced a number of meritorious performances during the recent spring and summer feature races at Ascot, before he won a 950m trial at Lark Hill earlier this month.

He makes his return to racing for a brief late summer and early autumn campaign in this Sunday’s $120,000 event, where he the second top weight carries 58kg.

Miller said he had high hopes that this could be the breakout campaign for Achernar Star.

“The trial was really good and he’s ready,” Miller told The Races WA.

“Physically he’s got a lot bigger, which I can’t get my head around.

“He’s sharp and the distance will suit.

“He’s been a model of consistency and nearly won a Group 2 over 1400m and this looks just a perfect platform for him.”

Miller has also earmarked the Listed Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on March 6 and the Listed Grandstand Cup (1500m) on March 23 as other suitable races for the four-year-old.

The Ascot-based trainer, who won the Pinjarra Classic in 2016 with First Among Equals, said he expected a positive ride from jockey Shaun Mc Gruddy in barrier seven.

“Generally when he’s on song, he springs the gates like a false start and he puts himself there,” he said.

“I’m assuming that will happen on the weekend.”

Achernar Star will face nine rivals on Sunday, headlined by the top weight and recent Cyril Flower Stakes winner Rebel King.

William Pike has the ride on Vital Silver and his co-trainer Ben Pearce told The Races WA he expected the flashy grey to be close to the speed as well.

Miller will be hoping Achernar Star can form part of a winning double across the weekend, which appears set to start with on a high when Niccovi lines up in the Sign On Group Plate (1100m).

Niccovi produced an encouraging performance in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic (1200m) at Pinjarra on February 9 when second to Jericho Missile.

The filly has drawn barrier one for her second-up assignment on Saturday and has been installed a $1.65 favourite with TABtouch.

Miller, who took out last Saturday’s two-year-old race with Amelia’s On Fire, said he expected to see Niccovi bring her form from Pinjarra to Ascot.

“You’d like to think it’s a drop in grade,” he said.

“Hopefully we can get her prizemoney up and roll into the better races off the back of Saturday.”

Ascot’s meeting on Saturday gets underway at 12.54pm, while the Pinjarra Classic starts at 4.25pm on Sunday.

Tim Walker