Star Turn Proves That In San Domenico Stakes
Second favourite was Star Turn (Star Witness), another colt last seen when sixth behind Capitalist in the Golden Slipper in mid-March.
Parading before the race, Capitalist looked fit but seemed not to have developed much during his spell while Star Turn looked a bigger, even stronger version of the powerful colt we last saw on Golden Slipper day although his condition suggested he would be improved greatly by the run.
Star Turn’s performance to win the San Domenico by a decisive length and a quarter from a race fit Tango Rain (Manhattan Rain) was indicative of more important wins to come but the well-ridden Capitalist disappointed his admirers, looming up in the straight to reach third ahead of Kentucky Miss (Foxwedge) before fading slightly to finish a well beaten fourth in 1:04.39 after the last 600 metres were covered in 33.89 on the soft track.
While the San Domenico Stakes only ranks as a Group Three event, since 2000 no fewer than nine of its winners have gone on to win Group One races, most recently Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock) in 2011, Snitzerland (Snitzel) in 2012 and Japonisme (Choisir) last year.
Owner Alan Bell, renowned as an excellent judge of a horse, was clearly impressed by Star Turn when he outlaid $400,000 to secure him from the Widden Stud draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January, 2015. This was the highest price realised by any Star Witness (Starcraft) yearling during the 2015 auction series.
From the start, Star Turn looked likely to justify his cost, winning the Pierro Plate (1100m) at Randwick as an early two-year-old last October before travelling to Melbourne in the early autumn where he finished second to Flying Artie (Artie Schiller) in the Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (Gr 3, 1100m) before a well-beaten fifth in the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m), a race in which he lost a plate.
Star Turn is the best of four stakes winners to date (others are Pearl Star, The Barrister and Well Sprung) from the first two crops of the young Widden Stud stallion Star Witness, remembered for the powerful finishing runs he produced to capture the 2010 Blue Diamond Stakes and the 2010 Coolmore Stud Stakes (registered as Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m).
Rated the champion three-year-old colt of his generation in Australia, Star Witness was also runner up to Black Caviar (Bel Esprit) in the Patinack Classic (registered as Victoria Racing Club Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m). Later on a trip to Britain, Star Witness was second in the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr 1, 5f) and third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Gr 1, 6f) at the Royal Ascot meeting.
Golden Delicious (Made of Gold), dam of Star Turn, was a brilliant sprinter, a multiple stakes winner of 13 races from 1000 metres to 1200 metres, four as a two-year-old, doing much of her racing in Perth but also highly competitive in Melbourne where she won and placed in several feature races as shown in the accompanying catalogue-style pedigree.
Star Turn is the mare’s fourth living foal. All four have won, best of the others being her second foal, stakes-placed Straight Gold (Stratum), a metropolitan winner in Sydney before becoming a very useful performer in Hong Kong.
Golden Delicious has a two-year-old sister to Star Turn named Shufoog (Star Witness) coming through this season and a yearling colt by Stratum (Redoute’s Choice) but sadly the mare died in November, 2015, a week after foaling him.
Made Of Gold (Green Forest), the Star Kingdom (Stardust) line sire of Golden Delicious,was bred in the United States and imported to stand at Milluna Stud in South Australia after winning races in Europe and New York, highlight performances being his victory as a juvenile in the Royal Lodge Stakes (Gr 2, 1m) at Ascot and a second to champion Arazi (Blushing Groom) in the Prix de la Salamandre (Gr 1, 1400m).
Made Of Gold left a high percentage of winners, among them 17 stakes winners, but has become more prominent as a maternal grandsire as another of his daughters is dam of Starspangledbanner (Choisir), a four-time Group One winner and now a very successful sire.
While there are no other major winners close up in Star Turn’s family, the San Domenico Stakes winner traces back to Queen Of Egypt (Nilo), his fifth dam, an unraced half-sister to Pompilia (Abbots Fell), dam of champion Australian two-year-old Pago Pago (Matrice) who achieved considerable success as a sire in the United States before being returned to Australia to finish his stud career.
Such important winners as Ancient Song (Canny Lad) and Preferment (Zabeel), like Star Turn, also trace back to Queen Of Egypt.
Star Turn is an outcross to five generations but further back is linebred to Northern Dancer’s sire Nearctic (Nearco), carries a remote double of Star Kingdom and has seven lines of the highly charged Nasrullah (Nearco) in his pedigree background.