|Saturday was a memorable day's racing for many of our Star owners with the purple and white stars figuring prominently all through the afternoon. |
First on the board was THE AVENGER winning at Moonee Valley courtesy of a well judged ride by Ben Melham. The gelding had been an eye catcher at his previous start on the same track when coming from back of the field on a leader dominated day to run third and his effort on Saturday in a 1,600 metres Benchmark 78 was very good. Once again he came wide at the turn into the home straight, having settled in the second half of the field during the run. THE AVENGER raced to the lead once he balanced in the straight and fought off challengers strongly to notch his fifth career win from 17 starts and just over two hundred thousand dollars in earnings to date.
Next stop it was Rosehill Gardens where Star had 4 runners in 3 Group 2 races on the program. Three year old colt DEALMAKER had been a "black booker" at his previous run in the Ming Dynasty. On Saturday in the 1,500 metres Group 2 Stan Fox, the colt stumbled shortly after the barriers opened and this meant that he settled at the tail of the field. It was only when the horses approached the home turn that Hugh Bowman began to improve on DEALMAKER, remaining on the fence which seemed the place to be. Well into the straight the opening appeared between the leading horses and the colt ran strongly to the line, only to be denied victory by a nose margin. Most likely DEALMAKER will head to the Gloaming Stakes in a fortnight and then the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes and in both cases the son of Dundeel (NZ) will love the trip. He looks a highly promising individual through the spring and beyond.
Then it was the turn of Group 1 winner D'ARGENTO in the Group 2 Theo Marks. This 1,300 metres race was planned as a very good lead up to The Epsom for the horse in 3 weeks' time.The winner was too sharp over the trip as it turned out, setting a solid pace throughout, but Hugh Bowman was very happy with D'ARGENTO commenting (as was often the case on Saturday) that the heavy, cut up track wasn't particularly to his liking especially as the horse has a regularly spoken of great galloping action. D'ARGENTO ran second and will be well suited to The Epsom over the Randwick mile. Can't wait for that.
Towards the end of the day our 2 quality mares INVINCIBELLA and NOIRE lined up in the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes. Both were resuming from racing and then briefly spelling in Brisbane where INVINCIBELLA was a brilliant winner of the Group 2 Dane Ripper. Throughout the bulk of the program, the rail had seemingly been the place to be, so when both "girls" headed to the middle of the track in the straight (or close to it) there was some short term trepidation by both groups of owners, however at the 120 metres mark when both Star mares were charging to the lead it was a fabulous sight for all of us! Right on the line INVINCIBELLA prevailed by a centimetre or two (officially a nose) but her stablemate NOIRE lost no admirers and looks set to have her own moment on "centre stage" before too long.
The sight of our 2 very classy Star mares racing to the lead, well clear of the field in a Group 2 feature race was unbelievably exciting. The fact that the result was nearly a dead heat made it especially memorable, with the entire day providing us with lots of great moments.
Congratulations to all Star's owners who enjoyed racing in such important races at the weekend and huge thanks to Team Waller for making it all happen. Onwards to more Spring features in the coming couple of months.