Star Witness Has His Star
The most expensive yearling by Star Witness in 2015, Star Turn had his turn to shine at Rosehill on Saturday when derailing the return of Golden Slipper winner Capitalist to score a stylish victory in the Group III ATC San Domenico Stakes.
Trial watchers had not missed the recent efforts of the Team Hawkes trained colt, who was well supported to beat the favourite Capitalist, burdened with 60 kg.
The money turned out to be right as Star Turn cruised to a 1-1/4 length victory in the 1100 metre sprint while Capitalist met the same fate as last year’s Golden Slipper hero Vancouver, finishing unplaced in fourth.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” co-trainer Peter Snowden said of Capitalist, which became the 10th Golden Slipper winner since 2000 to taste defeat first-up as a three-year-old.
“For what it’s worth I’m happy with the horse. Obviously disappointing he got beat today but I can’t see anything wrong with him.”
Star Turn was ridden confidently by Tommy Berry, sent forward to sit outside the leader Tango Rain before taking over in the straight under minimal pressure.
Tango Rain, prepared by Gerald Ryan, stuck to the task in second while Joe Pride’s filly Kentucky Miss ran home strongly to finish another three-quarters of a length back in third.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said he had trusted Berry’s instincts to deliver a win in the six-horse contest.
“I said to Tommy after the first 100 metres you’ll know whether you’re going forward or back. Make up your own mind because it’s a small tactical field,” Hawkes said.
“He rode a great race; he didn’t push the go button until the last 150 (metres).
“Hopefully he’s got a long way to go this prep and he’s a colt in the making that’s for sure.”
Hawkes added that the imposing son of Star Witness had made significant improvement both mentally and physically since finishing just over three lengths astern of Capitalist in the Golden Slipper.
“He’s definitely grown and put weight on. He’s just got thicker and stronger but the key to this bloke is his mental attitude – he’s more relaxed,” Hawkes said.
“There’s plenty of races around for him now, the Golden Rose is there but there’s no definite decision yet.”
Consigned for sale to Magic Millions and bred in partnership by Widden, Star Turn made $400,000 and runs in the familiar colours of well-known Sydney owner Alan Bell.
He has the overall record of two wins and two placings from six starts with prizemoney topping $330,000.
The fourth stakes-winner for Star Witness, he is a half-brother to three other winners including Group II placed Straight Gold from the good producer and Group III winner Golden Delicious.
Widden Stud sold a full sister to Star Turn at Inglis Easter this year to Shadwell Australia for $300,000.
Golden Delicious died last year and her last foal is a Stratum yearling colt.
Star Turn has always promised to be a flagbearer for Star Witness and looks ready to fulfil on his potential.
Star Witness stands at a fee of $16,500.