Five Stars Partner will be aiming for back-to-back wins when he lines up in McGuigan BMW Class 2 Handicap (1512m) at Port Macquarie on Thursday.
The Kim Waugh-trained gelding by Rothesay from Bise looks the one to beat, after finding form this preparation. From three starts he has recorded a win and two minor placings.
“He has always had ability but was a bit slow maturing,” Waugh said.
“He has come into his own this preparation.
“His trackwork has been really solid and now he’s replicating that in his races.”
Five Stars Partner finished more than a length ahead of rivals Cheeky Bella and Seasonal in the Lander Toyota Benchmark 60 Handicap (1400m) at Hawkesbury on November 18.
With Brenton Avdulla on board, he jumped well and settled fourth before kicking away with 100m to go.
“The extra distance this time will be perfect for him,” Mrs Waugh said. “He may even get a little bit further later on.”
Five Stars Partner has drawn ideally in barrier 3 and will be ridden by in-form jockey, Andrew Gibbons, who rode a double at Port Macquarie’s last meeting on 22nd November.
“This is a lovely race for Five Stars Partner,” Mrs Waugh said. “He should get a nice run behind the leaders and will be hard to beat.”
Kim Waugh will also saddle up Esempio in the Collins Group Maiden Plate (1512m).
The four-year-old mare by Excellent Art from Irgunette finished eighth in her first start in the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Maiden Handicap (1350m) at Newcastle on 19th November, but Mrs Waugh is confident she will improve over time.
“She’s working well but she is very green,” Waugh said.
“She will wear blinkers for the first time on Thursday and hopefully they will help her concentrate, but she still has a lot to learn about racing.”
Waugh has two runners on the seven race card at Port Macquarie, with Esempio set to start in the 1512m Collins Group Maiden Plate.