Long-term Group 1 goal for Starry Heights

Trainers Grant and Alana Williams were disappointed with Alsephina’s below-par performance in the Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m) at Ascot on Saturday but less than a hour later they were already talking up another Group 1 prospect by Vinery sire Star Turn.

The Karnup-based trainers made a statement in the final race at the Northerly Stakes meeting when Star Turn 4yo Starry Heights won his sixth race in a row in the TABtouch Hcp (1600m).

“He’s much better than I originally thought,” Grant Williams admitted.  “He’s matured and blinkers have helped.  Willie (Pike) rode him closer today so the main danger was on his back but he had a really good kick in the last 100 metres.”

Starry Heights (4g Star Turn – Highly Illustrious by High Chaparral) has won 7 of his 11 starts for earnings over $255,000.  He was purchased for $35,000 at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions when offered by Ruby Racing & Breeding (as agent) for south-west breeder Ellie Giles.

He’s the first foal of Highly Illustrious who also has a 3yo unraced Written By filly named Life’s Story with Colin Webster and a yearling colt by War Chant (USA).

“I guess we’re going to have to sit down and make a plan now,” Williams said.  ‘He’s a beautiful cut of a horse with a deep girth and he just keeps improving.  Hopefully he could be back here in 12 months for the (Group 1) Railway Stakes.”

Williams wasn’t as upbeat when discussing Alsephina’s unplaced effort in the Group 1 Northerly but he wasn’t blaming the Star Turn mare who went into the weight-for-age feature following a career-high second to Bustler (Playing God) in the Group 1 Railway Stakes earlier this month.

“She’s game but that track was too hard and she couldn’t let down.  It’s a joke.  I didn’t like the way she went down to the gates and neither did Willie.”

There are 13 lots by Star Turn catalogued for the Gold Coast Magic Millions starting on Tuesday. January 9 including Vinery’s colt from Joyful Journey (Shamardal).  Parading as Lot 815 on Day 4, he’s a half-brother to Flemington winner Grand Pope (More Than Ready).

Star Turn maintained the highest winning strike-rate of any sire in the Australia Top 50 last season and followed up with a Southern Hemisphere 2YO Sale record last month when his colt from Commonwealth (Foxwedge) made $825,000 at the NZB Ready To Run Sale.