A small but select field of eight will line up in Saturday’s Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot, headlined by unbeaten mare Enticing Star.
A winner at all of her eight career starts, Enticing Star will jump from barrier seven in the $250,000 event, in what looms as the toughest challenge of her career to date.
The past two Railway Stakes winners also feature in the Weight-For-Age event, with Great Shot coming off a last start third to Man Booker in the Northerly Stakes on October 20, while Scales Of Justice is first-up since his unplaced finish in last year’s Railway Stakes.
Man Booker will round out his preparations for the Railway Stakes in the Lee Steere as well, while the Darren Mc Auliffe-trained Gatting will run first-up since his win in July’s Swan River Vase.
As well as having Enticing Star in the field, owner Bob Peters will be represented by Star Exhibit and Perfect Jewel.
After a first-up win at Bunbury and a game third in the Northam Cup, Achernar Star will be out to secure his spot in the Railway Stakes when he takes his place in the Group 2 event.
Trainer Simon Miller said the four-year-old would have to be at his best to beat the star-studded field at Weight-For-Age level, but was adamant the horse was ready to step up.
“I’ve got him going the best I’ve had him going,” he told TABradio.
“What that equates to on Saturday remains to be seen.
“I’ve called it the in-between run you need to have, because I want to go to the Railway with him.
“The best way to do that is through this race.”
There are two other blacktype events on the Ascot program on Saturday, with the Fairetha Stakes (1400m) the last lead up run to the WA Guineas on November 24, while the stayers line up in the Ascot Gold Cup (1800m).
A strong field of 14 three-year-old colts and geldings have accepted in the Fairetha Stakes, where Lordhelpmerun and Chix Pic are equal topweights.
Trainers Grant and Alana Williams have four runners in the race, headlined by impressive last start winner True Attraction.
Last start Northam Cup winner Pushin’ Shapes carries the 59kg topweight in the Ascot Gold Cup, while Like A Butterfly will be looking for her second Listed race win over 1800m at Ascot this year when she lines up from barrier nine.