An ideal barrier in Friday night’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) has given Star Turn the boost he needs to really serve it up to the older horses.
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It’s no easy feat for a three-year-old to take on seasoned sprinters in a standard weight-for-age contest, however, in the past 30 years, 12 youngsters have been successful with the most recent being Foxwedge (2012).
Star Turn did destroy the older horses in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield when he was third-up last campaign – although he technically had a freshen-up before that race – and on Friday night, he goes into the William Reid at his third run this preparation.
Both runs this campaign have been full of merit and are arguably the strongest form races heading into Friday night’s contest.
The son of Star Witness was narrowly defeated by Terravista and Spieth in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and then finished 3rd behind Redkirk Warrior and Voodoo Lad in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
In analysing Star Turn’s sectionals and splits from the Newmarket, one thing is very obvious – he needed the run to bring him to peak fitness.
His 200m splits from the 1200m to the 200m mark are on par with the winner and runner-up, but it was from the 200m to finish were he dropped off and ran the third slowest split in the race (11.73).
Only last and second-last placed Terravista and Counterattack ran slower last 200m splits, while the winner and runner-up kept going strongly in times of 11.47 and 11.39 respectively.
Having worked a bit from the outset to get over from the outside to the inside fast lane, Star Turn was always going to be vulnerable in the last 200m after carting the field up in front.
But Hawkes Racing-trained gallopers generally peak third-up from a spell so I’m expecting Star Turn to go to another level on Friday night.
He won’t have to lead this time, and I can see Sheidel and Hooked working across from out wide to give Flamberge and Star Turn cover.
Star Turn is likely to be one out and one back, and if he settles in that position and builds momentum on the corner, he has the class, fitness and sprint to claim victory.
It wouldn’t surprise to see Flamberge, Hellbent and Rebel Dane in the mix so they go in all multiples, but with equal luck, I think Star Turn is a standout.
William Reid Stakes Facts:
Dating back to 1925, the race was won by The Night Patrol when the race was a Principal race and run over six furlongs (approximately 1200m).
The Night Patrol returned the following year and became the first of many back-to-back winners of the William Reid Stakes.
From 1996 to 2009 the race was named the ‘Australia Stakes’ but reverted back to its original name of the William Reid Stakes in 2010. It was also called the Australia Made Stakes in 1994 and 1995.
Horses that compete in the William Reid Stakes may have contested the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) or Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Flamberge is the most recent winner of the William Reid Stakes having won it in 2016 after claiming the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at his previous start. It was a significant victory as trainer Peter Moody bowed out of racing with a Group 1 win.
Being a weight-for-age race, the William Reid gives some horses a distinct advantage after being heavily weighted in the Newmarket Handicap.
The illustrious honour roll lists the who’s who of Australian sprinters and in recent times William Reid Stakes winners such as Black Caviar and Miss Andretti have travelled to the UK to compete at Royal Ascot.
Special mention must go to champion racehorse Manikato who won the William Reid Stakes on five consecutive occasions between 1979 and 1983.
Such was the champion’s domination at Moonee Valley that a race, the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) was named after him to honour his deeds – he won the Freeway Stakes twice (now the Manikato).
Other former winners of the William Reid Stakes include Heroic (1927), Comic Court (1951), Manikato (1979-83), Vo Rogue (1988), Redelva (1991), Hareeba (1995), Regimental Gal (2004), Cape Of Good Hope (2005), Miss Andretti (2007), Apache Cat (2008-09) and Black Caviar (2011 & 2013).
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