For Simon Miller, the Ascot Masters has been relatively disappointing, but he’s optimistic he can strike back and claim a rich prize purse in Saturday’s Magic Millions-Kingston Town Classic (1800m).
Miller has saddled 15 runners across the Railway Stakes-Winterbottom Stakes meetings, but aside from placings to Levitate, Sophie’s Song, Lacevinsky, American Choice, Speeding Comet, Niccovi and Dance Music, he has come up short.
But Miller is quietly confident he can break his 2019 Ascot Masters hoodoo and claim an elusive Group 1 victory with Achernar Star in the Kingston Town Classic, the gelding’s third attempt in the race.
The son of Gingerbread Man, a dual Listed winner, ran third to Pounamu in 2017 and last year was outclassed when he finished ninth to star mare, Arcadia Queen.
Achernar Star has not won a race this campaign, but Miller has not lost faith and believes the five-year-old is better conditioned to make his presence felt in Saturday’s race.
Miller says Achernar Star’s last-start run in the Railway Stakes (1600m) when he placed fourth to Regal Power, beaten just over a length, gave him cause for optimism.
“I’m looking forward to my horse going around,” Miller told Tabradio.
“He ran third in it two years ago and was really good and then last year he was awful, but he went there on flat tyres and had some really hard runs. He felt the effects of them.
“This year I have him going unbelievably good, but whether that equates to Saturday remains to be seen, but he finished off the Railway in good order.
“He wobbles around the corner and hits and flat spot, but gets going again.
“I’ve got him in the groove, so I can’t wait to see whether he is right there in the mix.
“You would say 1800m is 50-50 for him, but off what he did in the Railway the other day he is a chance.”
Achernar Star will be ridden by Paul Harvey. He replaces Damien Oliver, who has opted to partner Regal Power.
Meanwhile Miller is uncertain if he will back-up Flirtini in the Group 3 Scahill Stakes (1400m) on Saturday after her slashing 5th in the Winterbottom Stakes.
“I’m mindful that even though she sat out the back and hit the line she ran the fastest 1000m, 800m, 600m and 200m for the whole meeting, so she has had a tough run,” Miller said.
“This morning (Monday) she ate up and was bright, so we will keep an eye on her.”
Miller confirmed Valour Road, 12th in the Winterbottom Stakes, will be his representative in the Scahill Stakes.
The Kingston Town barrier draw will be conducted at Ascot on Tuesday afternoon.