Premiership-winning Perth trainers Grant and Alana Williams had to settle for second prize with their Star Turn mare Alsephina in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday but there was a consolation with her Star Turn stablemate Starry Heights.
Starry Heights has built a 60% winning strike-rate, just like Alsephina, and he can also break into black-type ranks during the summer carnival on the back of a superb first-up victory in the Amelia Park Hcp (1400m).
Jockey Willie Pike was seen at his brilliant best steering him through traffic to overhaul Brooklyn Pier (Magnus) who was being hailed a winner at the furlong. “His first trial back was ordinary and I thought he was travelling only okay today before Willie put him into that gap,” Grant Williams said. “He changed stride straightaway and went very quick. That was pleasing because they weren’t breaking any records in front”
Starry Heights (4g Star Turn – Highly Illustrious by High Chaparral) had won four in a row during a winter campaign at Belmont. “He was only out for a month because he was putting on a heap of weight. It took time to get him back in the groove but Willie said he was ready to go after we put the shades on for his second trial at Lark Hill last week.”
Saturday’s win sent his earning through $210,000 after 10 outings and that’s a good start off a $35,000 price-tag at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions. He was offered by Ruby Racing & Breeding (as agent) for south-west breeder Ellie Giles and is the first foal out of a mare who hails from the black-type family of Pentastic (Craiglee Stakes Gr.2) and Primus (Tramway Hcp Gr.3).
Pike reported Alsephina ran really well despite having her colours lowered by Bustler (Playing God) in the Railway Stakes. “She just found one better on the day. It was a good effort and coming second in a Group 1 is still okay.”
Alsephina holds another Group 1 nomination for the Northerly Stakes (1800m) at Ascot on December 9. She’s at $12 in pre-post markets and has already won over the track and trip in the Group 3 La Trice Classic in January.
Vinery sire Star Turn has 13 yearlings entered for the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale in January including Lot 815, the colt from Joyful Journey (Shamardal) being offered by Vinery as agent for his breeder Pat Hodgens.
Joyful Journey’s only foal to race to date is More Than Ready’s Flemington winner Grand Pope. Her Star Turn 2yo filly is on the books with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace after a $440,000 bid from Emirates Park at this year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions.