STAR TURN has all the attributes breeders and yearling buyers love, he is strong and handsome, was a brilliant sprinter and has a pedigree laced with speed. You can be sure that plenty of good judges will be keen to secure one of his first crop yearlings at the sales in 2020.

STAR TURN (Star Witness x Golden Delicious). Photo by Bronwen Healy. The Image is Everything – Bronwen Healy Photography.

YEARLING buyers looking for a ready made two year-old type are sure to take a good look at the first crop youngsters by Vinery’s young sire Star Turn at sales in 2020. The powerfully built sprinter won early as a two year-old and then took on the best sprinters at three and has a sire and dam who also excelled over short courses.

There are more than 100 foals from the first crop of Star Turn (Star Witness-Golden Delicious by Made of Gold (USA)) and breeders who have them say they take after Dad, so they are sure to catch the eye in the sale ring. Star Turn, a chestnut with three white socks and a blaze who stands a tick over 16 hands, was such a handsome yearling he cost that very good judge Alan Bell $400,000 at the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast, making him the most expensive yearling by his sire in 2015.

Consider what a big accolade that is as Bell’s previous sale ring buys number champion sprinter Schillaci along with Deep Field and Grand Armee. The former veterinarian, Gr.1 trainer, businessman, Racing NSW chairman and Racing Hall of Fame inductee has raced more than 30 Gr.1 winners and knows a thing or two about spotting a good horse.

After Star Turn’s win in the San Domenico Stakes-Gr.3 (1100m) he told reporters, “They don’t go any better than that, he’s definitely Gr.1 class”. He was just as positive when he spotted the colt at the sales. “If you’re looking for the quintessential two year-old, he just has a great look about him.”

STAR TURN (Star Witness – Golden Delicious).

A Gr.2 winner and four-times Gr.1 placed in a career of just 12 starts, Star Turn was the first son of Widden Stud’s boom young sire Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara by Lion Hunter) to head to stud but he certainly won’t be the last given the quality of that horse’s recent books. Star Witness, who won the Blue Diamond-Gr.1 at two and the Ascot Vale-Gr.1 at three, only retired to stud in 2011 and already has the winners of more than $32.4m including dual Gr.1-winning filly Global Glamour (dam by Testa Rossa) whose five wins to 1600m saw her collect more than $1.5m in earnings. His 289 winners represent a winners-to-runners ratio of 64.4% and his 15 stakes winners also include Gr.2 winner Malla Maria (Keep the Faith, second dam by Danehill), Gr.3 winners Fuhryk (Langfuhr), Graff (Keep the Faith), both also Gr.1 placed, and Crown Witness (Kahal). Other stakes winners are out of daughters of More Than Ready, Fastnet Rock (2), Grand Slam, Magic Albert, Desert Sun, Testa Rossa, Zabeel and Rock of Gibraltar (that runner Cosmic Alert also having a second dam by Made of Gold). Star Witness has proved a good foil for mares from the Danzig (Danehill) and Halo lines, which is a good clue when it is time to inspect yearlings by his young son.

Star Witness is a son of international Gr.1 winner Starcraft (NZ) (Soviet Star (USA)-Flying Floozie by Pompeii Court (USA)), winner of the AJC Derby-Gr.1 (2400m) and Chipping Norton-Gr.1 (1600m) in Australia and the Mudgway Partsworld-Gr.1 (1400m) in NZ, before travelling to Europe to take the Prix du Mouilin-Gr.1 (1600m) at Longchamp and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes-Gr.1 (1600m) at Newmarket, beating Dubawi (IRE) in the latter event.

Now standing at Rosemont in Victoria ($8800) after beginning stud life at Arrowfield (and in the UK) in 2006, he has sired winners of about $40m (20SW), his other Gr.1 winner being We Can Say It Now (Generous), twice successful in elite level in NZ and whose pedigree features a double of Pompeii Court (3fx3f). Those with daughters of O’Reilly (dam also by Pompeii Court) can duplicate the double too by using Star Turn (or his sire/grandsire).

Starcraft’s sire Soviet Star (USA) (Nureyev-Verushka by Venture), whose dam sire, a winner of the Middle Park Stakes-Gr.1, is a three-quarter brother to multiple Gr.1 winner and short-lived sire Buisson Ardent (Relic-Rose O’Lynn by Pherozshah), won five Gr.1 events. These were the French 2000 Guineas, Sussex Stakes, Prix de la Foret, July Cup and Prix du Moulin. He stood in England, Japan and Ireland and shuttled briefly to NZ, leaving 85 foals from his southern season in 1999, Starcraft among them.

While Star Turn now has Nureyev in his fourth remove this remarkable racehorse is important as a high class foil for other members of the Rough Shod clan and he brings class to any pedigree. Bred by Claiborne Farm, Nureyev is a son of Northern Dancer and Special (Forli-Thong by Nantallah), a granddaughter of Rough Shod (Gold Bridge-Dalmary by Blandford) and he raced for shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, winning the Prix Djebel and Prix Thomas Bryon-Gr.3 and was first past the post in the 1980 English 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 only to be disqualified and placed last. They were his only starts and he began his stud career in France before heading to the US where tragedy struck when he broke a hind leg.

Miraculously saved; Nureyev continued his stud career, which was also hampered by fertility issues. He lived in a specially built stable compound at Walmac Farm, well away from the other stallions and was hand-walked for hours each day, as he was unable to be paddocked because of the leg injury.

He lived to the ripe old age of 24. He was leading sire in France in 1987 and subsequently a champion broodmare sire and his 23 Gr.1 winners included champions Theatrical, Peintre Celebre and Miesque (10 Gr.1), the latter also dam of champion sire Kingmambo.

Nureyev has a special place in Australasian breeding as the dam sire of both champion NZ sire Zabeel and of Desert King (IRE) (sire of Makybe Diva). He is also a three-quarter brother to champion sire Sadler’s Wells and that horse’s brother Fairy King (USA) and also to Perugino (sire of Testa Rossa). Nureyev sons who have left Gr.1 winners in this part of the world include champion miler and shuttler Spinning World (USA) (sire of Thorn Park), Gr.1 winner Good Journey (both, like champion sire Redoute’s Choice, descendants of Best in Show) and Arc winner Peintre Celebre (USA).

Inbreeding to Nureyev’s family (tracing to Rough Shod, family 5h) has been particularly successful (Northern Meteor a case in point) and oft-repeated and, given that Star Turn stands at Vinery, which is also home to now-retired Testa Rossa, it would be no surprise to see the latter’s daughters clicking with Star Turn. Remember that dual Gr.1 winner Global Glamour (Special 5mx5f) is by Star Witness from a Testa Rossa daughter, as is Listed winner Lycurgus, while Listed winner Lord Balmoral is from a daughter of Zabeel (dam by Nureyev).

Star Witness is from Gr.3 winner Leone Chiara, a daughter of the Gr.1 placed sprinter Lion Hunter, a son of nine-times Champion Australian Sire Danehill and the imported Pure of Heart (IRE) (Godswalk (USA)) and both Lion Hunter’s parents were Gr.1-winning sprinters. Lion Hunter is inbred to speed influence Native Dancer and his second dam, the juvenile winner Chiara, is by Last Tycoon, a crack sprinter in England who went to the US to claim the Breeders’ Cup Mile-Gr.1 before a stellar stud career.

Daughters of his grandson Written Tycoon look a good bet with Star Turn. Etoile d’Or, third dam of Star Witness, is by Diplomatic Star (USA) (by the Nashua son Diplomat Way), whose dam Ritmar (Star Kingdom (IRE)), won the Lightning Stakes before her export to the US. Another of her sons, Taipan II (USA) (Bold Ruler) stood with success in NZ.

Star Turn carries another line of another exported Star Kingdom champion, as his tough-as-teak dam Golden Delicious is by Made of Gold, a Prix de la Salamandre-Gr.1 runner-up, by Green Forest, a grandson of Cox Plate winner Noholme, a brother to the first Golden Slipper winner Todman (whose descendants should work with Star Turn). Noholme rose from obscurity at stud in Arkansas to eventually become one of the best sires in the US, a legacy carried on by his son Nodouble, a champion handicapper who was leading sire in the US in 1981 and whose sire sons include Queensland hero Semipalatinsk (USA).

That horse is the sire of the second dam of Spirit of Boom, a dual Gr.1 winner and leading sire for Eureka Stud and a horse who carries Thatch, a brother to Special, 4mx5f. As Spirit of Boom’s dam is by a son of Danehill his daughters look ready made for Star Turn.

Made of Gold (ex Vindaria by Roi Dagobert), who won the Royal Lodge Stakes-Gr.2 at Royal Ascot as a juvenile, sired the winners of more than $22m (17SW) and he is the dam sire of winners of more than $24m (10SW), most notably international sprint champion and now sire success Starspangledbanner (by Choisir, a sire who has shown great affinity with mares carrying Todman and Noholme and another whose daughters should suit Star Turn). Golden Delicious won 13 races (1000m-1200m) to Gr.3 level including the WATC Prince of Wales Stakes and is a daughter of the multiple winner Barossa Gourmet, by tough Canadian stakes winner Pre Emptive Strike (CAN) (Blushing Groom-Queen Maud by Nearctic) and from Marry Me Maria (My Heart (IRE)-Regal Waters by Above Water (IRE)), winner of seven races (1100m-1600m) and dam of three winners. Her sire My Heart (IRE), a grandson of Nasrullah, won eight races and is best remembered as the sire of Golden Slipper-Gr.1 heroine Hartshill.

Star Turn’s fifth dam, Queen of Egypt (Nilo (GB)-Pagan Queen by Talking), won four races and left eight winners including stakes placed Blue Nile (who founded a very strong branch of this family) and Royal Biscay (sire) and is a half-sister to Pompilia, dam of Golden Slipper winner and sire Pago Pago. Queen of Egypt’s descendants include the Gr.1 winners Ancient Song (Canny Lad) and Preferment (Zabeel). This is family 1o.

Alan Bell raced the handsome Star Turn (later joined by Vinery) from the stables of John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes and the youngster came to hand early. He placed third on debut in the Kirkham (1000m) at Randwick on October 10 of his juvenile season before winning the Pierro Plate (1100m in 1:04.87) there two weeks later, beating Medaille by three lengths. Given a break, the colt won a Warwick Farm trial on January 25, 2016 before heading to Melbourne where he was beaten a short neck by Flying Artie when second in the Blue Diamond Prelude-Gr.3 (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13. He was then fifth (of 16) in the Blue Diamond-Gr.1 behind Extreme Choice on February 27.

Star Turn won a Rosehill trial on March 14 and was then sixth (of 16) behind Capitalist in the Golden Slipper-Gr.1 on March 19, beaten just 3.2 lengths after being 10th at the 400m. Two trial wins in July and August saw him well primed for his first start at three and he accounted for Tango Rain and Kentucky Miss in winning the San Domenico-Gr.3 (1100m) at Rosehill on August 13, 2016 after sitting second most of the journey for regular rider Tommy Berry on a surface rated soft (7) and with Capitalist among the unplaced brigade.

Star Turn met similar track conditions next time out as well when a long head second to late-charging Astern in the Run to the Rose-Gr.2 at Rosehill on August 27 and with third-placed Impending 3.5 lengths away, and was given a short break. He resumed at Caulfield on October 8 with a brilliant win against the older sprinters in the Schillaci Stakes-Gr.2 (1100m) at Caulfield for Craig Williams, beating Malaguerra by 2.25 lengths with Fell Swoop third and running 1:02.89 (last 600m in 34.11) in a race named after a champion sprinter who was also raced by Alan Bell.

“It is not easy for the three year-olds to beat the older horses so early in the season,” Wayne Hawkes said. “These are boys taking on men, so it was a good effort.”

Star Turn tried to lead all the way down the Flemington straight in the Coolmore (Ascot Vale) Stakes-Gr.1 (1200m) on October 29 and was beaten just 1.35 lengths by Flying Artie and Astern in 1:08.98. It was the first of his four Gr.1 thirds.

He was next out on February 18, 2017 when narrowly beaten by Terravista and Speith in the VRC Lightning-Gr.1 (1000m). He again took on the older sprinters on March 11 when third to Redkirk Warrior (GB) and Voodoo Lad in the VRC Newmarket-Gr.1 (1200m), beaten 2.1 lengths after being in the lead most of the way and on March 24 when third to Silent Sedition and Hellbent in the William Reid-Gr.1 (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24, beaten 1.35 lengths. That was his final start and he retired with three wins, two seconds and five thirds in 12 starts for earnings of $877,300.

“We had been tracking him since his first win as an early two year-old at Randwick, but it was his three year-old campaign that impressed us the most,” Vinery’s Peter Orton said after the stud had bought into the talented colt during his racing career. “He has pedigree, performance and physique, all essential qualities we look for in a stallion and Vinery’s partners have given him great support, sending some really nice mares in his first season and in subsequent seasons.”

Broodmare owners have been really impressed as well, sending some high-class mares to Star Turn and then rating the foals “the best on the farm”.

His fee in his first three seasons was $22,000, which could mean a big pay day for his supporters come sale time. The young sire has been turning heads since he was a yearling and now his first crop, which had weanlings sell up to $90,000 in 2019, is set to do the same in 2020 and he’s sure to be a freshman sire star. n


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