Star Witness 2YO Wins on Debut
Te Akau Racing unveiled yet another exciting juvenile at Wanganui on Saturday, with Star Witness filly Bellatrix Star taking out the opening two-year-old race of the season in New Zealand, the Whanganui Chronicle Maiden 2YO (800m).
Trainers Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson wasted no time producing their filly at the trials earlier this month where she scored over over 650m at Te Rapa on August 1.
Drawing the outside of the six-horse field on Saturday, jockey Michael McNab settled Bellatrix Star off the pace before guiding his charge wide when turning for home where she was able to eat into Hard Attack’s lead and nabbed her rival on the line to win by a nose.
“Even though she won by a short margin, it was most impressive given the way she got it done,” Walker said.
“She had to do it the tough way, getting back and running down the leader, and it’s not that easy over only 800m.
“It was a lovely ride of Michael’s, giving her such an educational sort of ride and that will be great experience for her going forward.”
Pleased with her debut effort, Walker and Bergerson will now send Bellatrix Star for a freshen-up, with their sights firmly set on the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in January with the filly purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $80,000 out of Phoenix Park’s 2023 New Zealand Book 1 Sale draft on behalf of Fortuna Syndications.
“She’ll have a little break now at Te Akau Stud. I think she’ll come back bigger and stronger and I certainly feel she is a Karaka Million 2YO type of filly,” Walker said.
“There is a lot of upside with her and she has the size and scope to really train on.”
Fortuna Syndicate Manager John Galvin was rapt with his filly’s debut performance and is excited to have a potential Karaka Million contender on his hands, having won it in 2017 with Melody Belle.
“There’s some 50-odd in the syndicate and we had about 20 here on course,” Galvin said.
“Things didn’t go all her way. She was a bit unsettled early in the run, but Michael got her balanced, asked her for an effort turning for home, and although Hard Attack gave us a bit of a fright, in the end our girl did enough to win.
“She’s Karaka Million registered, probably now qualified for the race in January with the stake money, so we’ll just work backwards from that, give her a break and set her up for a couple of races leading into the Karaka Million.”
Bellatrix Star is the second winner from Alana’s Party, an exceed and excel daughter of Group I winner The Party Stand.