Sydney galloper Star Of The Seas secured a spot in the All-Star Mile with a tough win in the Blamey Stakes.
Star Of The Seas held off a determined challenge from Fifty Stars, who was trying to become the first horse to claim the Group Two Flemington feature three years in a row.
Jamie Kah’s mount Buffalo River set a fast pace in front and he was still four lengths clear with 200 metres to go.
Chris Waller’s Melbourne stable foreperson Jo Taylor said Star Of The Seas’ best attribute was his consistency.
“We managed to get a ticket in the All-Star Mile so that was a big tick today,” Taylor said.
Taylor said they would take Star Of The Seas to gallop at The Valley before he headed to the $5 million All-Star Mile, which will be run on March 13.
“We’ll take him to The Valley to have a nice look around there and get accustomed to the circuit as we know it can be tricky sometimes, but we’re in it,” she said.
Taylor said Waller had managed to get to Melbourne on Friday for the first time in a long time and he was bullish about Star Of The Seas’ prospects.
Jockey Damian Lane said the galloper was suited by the fast speed in the race.
“He travelled really well. I wasn’t worried about the leader because of how hard they went – he was going to be a statue late,” Lane said.
“I was more worried about if I was dragging anything off my back like Fifty Stars.
“Fortunately enough, I got there at the right time and he was strong enough to fend off the challenger.”
Star Of The Seas’ win gave Lane the second leg of a winning double after he scored earlier in the day on Morvada.
Lane will ride outstanding Kiwi mare Probabeel in the All-Star Mile.
Star Of The Seas ($3.90) defeated Fifty Stars ($12) by a short neck with Buffalo River ($2.70 fav) 1-3/4 lengths away third.