Group 1 Win
Oct 29, 2016
Nichols’ Star shines in Myer Classic
Trainer Shane Nichols couldn’t hide his delight when three-year-old filly I Am Star provided him with a first Group 1 victory in the $500,000 Myer Classic at Flemington on Saturday.
The daughter of I Am Invincible had gone close when runner-up in the Thousand Guineas against her own age two starts earlier and Nichols being so near just made this result even sweeter.
“It’s an enormous buzz, I’m not sure I can explain the feeling,” Nichols said.
“To train your first Group 1 winner at Flemington during the carnival on Derby Day is something that you dream of.”
Nichols said I Am Star’s biggest asset was her maturity, which allowed her to make the most of the weight advantage she had over the older mares.
“She’s such a mature filly and nothing bothers her, she eats, she’s sound, she just goes about her work and if there’s another horse getting stressed near her she doesn’t care,” Nichols said.
“She was bred in New Zealand, was sold in Sydney, she’s trained in Melbourne, she’s been to Adelaide, been to Sydney and back to Melbourne so she’s like a nine-year-old gelding but she’s got a bit of toe.”
I Am Star ($8.50) defeated French Emotion ($31) by a long-neck, with Denmagic ($61) a further long-neck away in third.
The result provided jockey Dean Yendall with his second success at the highest level, only three weeks after he secured his first Group 1 win aboard Yankee Rose in the Spring Champion Stakes.
Yendall predicted a bright future for the filly and even mentioned the 2017 Caulfield Cup as a possible option.
“This is the best,” Yendall said.
“She gave me a nice kick at the 400m and I thought with the light weight on her back hopefully she’s going to be good enough to hang on which she thankfully was.
“I might sound a bit stupid here, but with the way she settled, I think she might make a nice little mare next season maybe in a race like the Caulfield Cup.”
The Myer Classic saw several fancied runners flop with the top four in betting all finishing in the second half of the field.
Dwayne Dunn (Don’t Doubt Mamma, $5.50), Blake Shinn (First Seal, $6.50) and Damian Lane (Rising Romance, $31) felt their mounts were unsuited by the firm track.
Hugh Bowman conceded that last month’s Group 2 Blazer Stakes winner French Emotion is ‘barely a Group 1 horse’ but she came within a long neck of claiming victory.
“Everything went our way and she just came up a bit short,” Bowman said.
The last-start Blazer Stakes runner-up Pure Pride ($51) was again luckless in defeat, finishing fifth in the Myer after being denied clear galloping room for much of the straight.
“She’s only had eight starts and had they galloped on any further she’d be in the finish,” Pure Pride’s rider Craig Williams said.
Trainer Simon Miller said that the other three-year-old in the race, Whispering Brook ($6), did not enjoy an ideal preparation leading into the Myer.
‘’It was unorthodox at least to have to trial on the Tuesday and then race on the Saturday and she was being trained to run 2000 metres,’’ he said.
‘’But the race was on and we decided to go for it. She’ll go home now go to the paddock and then we’ll have a look at her and see if she is ready to run in our (WA) Guineas (November 190. If not, then she can have a good spell and we’ll look at our autumn options.”
Group 2 Win
Mar 25, 2017
Star Wins Sunline Stakes
I Am A Star was sensational on Friday night in winning the Group 2 William Hill Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley against the older mares.
In the Spring I Am A Star become the first filly in history to win the Group 1 Myer Classic and last night's victory was the first for a filly since 1991. Trainer Shane Nichols has touted the Doncaster as her potential next start and the last filly to win the prestigious Group 1 was the champion Sunline herself.
Dean Yendall was fast out of the gates on the daughter of I Am Invincible and went to the lead. She raced comfortably before Yendall gave her a nudge at the 600m and she just ran away from a quality field.
“I think we had to put her into the race, obviously we would have preferred to sit outside the leader than lead, but she crossed fairly comfortably and then dictated the race,” Nichols said.
“Dean just let her roll early and she put a distinctive margin on a good group of mares, so outstanding performance by a very, very, very good filly.
“We’ve always had a big opinion of her. You watch the fillies she’s been racing against that have issues, have to go to the paddock or lose form, but not her, she stands up every time she runs and that’s a supreme effort.
“Not just from her, but the staff around her as well, she’s just a good filly.”
Dean Yendall was also thrilled with the result and has now ridden I Am A Star three times for three wins in a Group 1 and two Group 2's.
“It's a huge thrill to win on her again. I was pretty excited,” he added.
“I had to do a little bit of work, but she came back underneath me no problem.
“I asked her to quicken at 600m out without sort of going, we cantered around, I had a nice look around and didn’t realise how far in front I was.
“There was no stopping us tonight."
Nichols stated before the race that if I Am A Star was to win the Sunline then it would open up options in Syndey for The Championships.
“All I want it to do is to stop raining in Sydney,” Nichols said.
“We’ll go if it’s slow, maybe in the Doncaster after that win.
“We’ll certainly give consideration to the Coolmore Legacy – we just want it to be no worse than soft, we don’t want it heavy.
"If it dry's up for the Doncaster I think we may take that option rather than wait another week and risk getting a heavy track after passing on a soft or better one."
I Am A Star's career earnings are now well within reach of the million dollar mark with this win taking them to over $925,000. It was her sixth win at her 13 starts with a further three placings.
Group 2 Win
Mar 12, 2017
Tough Group 2 Win For Nichols' Star
Shane Nichols' stable star further proved her name to be correct on the weekend when taking out the Group 2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington over 1400m.
I Am A Star and Ellizacoom were locked together down the straight and when it looked like the West Australian visitor was going to hold off the challenge the gutsy filly under the tough Dean Yendall drove forward to get her nose in front on the line.
She was stepping up to 1400m after opening her campaign with a second placing in the Group 2 Rubiton (1200) and a seventh placing after being taking to the rear of the field in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100) which was dominated by leaders.
"She had to be very tough the last bit to knuckle down and find the line but those horse's that win tend to find a way to just keep winning," Nichols said after the race.
I Am A Star now takes her record at Flemington to three from three with a two-year-old win and the Group 1 Myer Classic victory in the Spring to go with her Group 2 win.
"To be three from three at Flemington is a big buzz and big wrap on a very good filly."
The three-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible will now head on towards the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley before a decision based on the weather will determine whether she heads to Sydney or heads to Adelaide to be aimed at the sprinting feature's.
Dean Yendall was also understandably thrilled with the win after being reunited with the filly after he claimed the Group 1 Myer win in the Spring.
Yendall said after the race that "she's pretty exciting to ride and I got really excited to ride her after getting the call up."
"She ran really well and she just possied up doing no work and sat off the Perth horse Steve Parnham was riding (Ellicazoom) and come off it's back and I felt pretty confident.
"She got a bit unbalanced so I had to pick her up again and ask her to go and I tell you what she was pretty tough."
I Am A Star now takes her record to five wins from 12 starts with a further three placings. The victory also took her earnings past $800,000
Group 3 Win
Aug 13, 2016
I Am A Star captures Quezette
Mornington trainer Shane Nichols and Steven King combined to win yet another feature race when I Am A Star claimed Saturday’s $150,000 Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) in the last stride.
I Am A Star ($6.50) jumped from the outside barrier (13) and settled in 11th position before unleashing a sharp acceleration down the middle of the straight to beat fellow swooper Leotie ($11) by a head.
Athena Lass ($10) attempted to lead throughout but faded on her run over the final 100m, finishing third.
“I thought halfway down the straight ‘she’s going to run a nice race’ but she found the line,” Nichols said before adding, “She’s certainly a winner.”
“If she had drawn barrier five I would have been nervous and thinking about what could possibly happen.
“But when we drew the outside it released all the pressure. We could ride her conservatively and allow her to run well and just enjoy having a nice horse in a nice race.”
I Am A Star ended last campaign by winning the Group 3 National Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville in May, also with King aboard, and he described I Am A Star as a ‘very nice filly’.
“It’d be nice if she could get a mile down the track and develop into a nice Thousand Guineas filly,” King said.
I Am A Star was the third Stakes winner for Nichols in the past decade, all of those major victories ridden by King. Their other Stakes victory came when Wordsmith won the 2007 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
The daughter of I Am Invincible will have her next start in the listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley for three-year-old fillies on September 3.
Leotie ran the quickest closing sectionals of the Quezette with rider Chris Parnham describing the run as being ‘super’.
“She was off the bridle the entire way and the Thousand Guineas is looking good for her,” Parnham said.
Modern Wonder ($5.50 favourite) finished last after racing outside the lead and rider Daniel Moor was at a loss to explain the poor performance.
“She copped a squeeze out of the gates and it took a stride or two to get her head down and relax,” Moor said.
“She got into a good rhythm but it was just the way the leader (Athena Lass) hung on for third (and she ran last).
“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and see how she pulls up. Hopefully there’s something that can explain the run because it was a very uncharacteristic effort.”