It was business as usual when the old firm served up Saskatoon as a well-backed favourite at Cranbourne on Thursday.
Saskatoon is trained by Team Hawkes for Alan Bell and carried the same grey & red striped silks as his Vinery-based sire Star Turn. Despite stumbling at the start, he assumed control and then saw off Lindsay Park 3yo No Nay Never in the O’Brien Real Estate Plate (1200m).
“We trained Star Turn for Alan and they’re a pretty good breed,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said after watching a slick win by his first-starter. “He’s a leading second-season stallion and this bloke is very promising. He had a quiet hit-out at Flemington and has always shown us a fair deal of ability.”
Saskatoon did everything right apart from the barriers but there were excuses. “He had been loaded for a while when a few of the others played up,” Hawkes noted. “He over-stepped out of the gates but he’s quick and took the shortest way home. There’s plenty of upside and he will tell us whether we go again or tip him out.”
Winning jockey Dean Holland said Saskatoon felt like a professional and had been well-educated by Team Hawkes. “He was cool in the gates and just jumped too fast. He recovered, pricked his ears and made his own luck in the lead. He did look around in front but the way he ran through the line impressed me.”
Bell bought Saskatoon for $80,000 from Ampulla Lodge at the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. Bred in South Australia by Kambula Stud, he’s the first foal of Berry Delicious (Blevic) who won five races in Sydney as well as being Group 2-placed in the 2015 Golden Pendant at Rosehill
Star Turn (Star Witness) won a MRC Schillaci Stakes (Gr.2, 1100m) and ATC San Domenico Stakes (Gr.3, 1100m) in a 12-start career under Team Hawkes. And his immediate success at stud hasn’t come as any surprise to Bell whose first good horse was 1990s champion sprinter Schillaci.
“He danced every dance. He never ducked a fight,” Bell said shortly after Star Turn retired to Vinery. “He was sound, tough, durable and athletic. And he kept going after some of the others had already been retired to stud. He’s a proper horse and he’s an exciting stallion.”
Star Turn’s Brisbane filly Startantes has arrived in Sydney for the $1million Golden Rose Stakes (Gr.1, 1200m) at Rosehill this Saturday. “There’s not much of her and there will be a few potting her in the enclosure,” trainer Rob Heathcote said. “But she’s got a big heart and a will to win.”
Vinery stands Star Turn for $16,500 (inc GST) with payment on a live foal. For bookings or further information, please contact Adam White (0414 800 918) or Harry Roach (0401 970 006).