Starcraft’s Little Sister Looks Heavenly

Connections of beautifully related filly Heavenly may have opted for a low key debut at Ballarat in Victoria's Central Highlands on Thursday but they are certain to harbour much grander plans for her future racing career based on her pedigree and bold-finishing victory in the Chris Packer Accounting Maiden Plate (1400m).

In fact, if the three-year-old from the Flemington stable of Danny O'Brien has inherited even a fraction of her esteemed siblings' ability it should not be long at all until she is given the opportunity to showcase her talent on a more prestigious stage.

Heavenly, by Danasinga from the Pompeii Court mare Flying Floozie (NZ), descends from a prolific stakes producing family (the first three dams alone have produced 7 individual stakes winners) and boasts being a full-sister to stakes winning Sydney mare Forum Floozie and a half-sister to the outstanding multiple Group One winner and stallion Starcraft.

All four, including mum, were bred in New Zealand by Garry Chittick, owner of Waikato Stud.

Trained by Hall of Fame trainer John Hawkes, Forum Floozie was an ultra consistent and competitive racemare which won the Listed AJC Wiggle Quality Handicap in 2003 but was also Group One placed on three occasions namely in the 2003 Epsom Handicap and the 2004 and 2005 editions of the Coolmore Classic.

But it is the brilliant globetrotting galloper Starcraft - a more masculine and magnificently conformed thoroughbred individual you will not see - that Heavenly's owners will be hoping she can emulate most.

Owned by millionaire businessman Paul Makin, Starcraft, by Nureyev stallion Soviet Star (USA) began his turf career in Queensland where he was successful at three of his first seven outings under the tutelage of Gold Coast-based trainer Gary Newham.

But whilst he always displayed significant potential up north it was not until Starcraft was campaigned in the southern states that he began to mature and blossom into the elite racehorse he would become.

This was highlighted when at his first race start outside of the sunshine state in the G3 Debonair Stakes at Flemington in January 2004 he easily defeated a class field that included five-time Group One winner Elvstroem.

Starcraft was then denied by Zabeel's unbeaten son Reset in the G1 Australian Guineas a fortnight later before travelling north again, this time to Sydney, for the next stage of his campaign where he rounded out his autumn in a blaze of glory with victories in the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes, G2 Tulloch Stakes and the time-honoured G1 Australian Derby.

After a well deserved break Starcraft resumed in the Spring of that year with wins in the G1 Mudgway Stakes and G2 Stoney Bridge Stakes in his native New Zealand - part of an unorthodox program hatched by Makin to win the Cox Plate - before returning to Australia for successive third placed efforts in the G1 Yalumba Stakes, behind Mummify, and his ultimate target the Cox Plate where he was unable to overhaul the lightly weighted three-year-old Savabeel and courageous veteran Fields of Omagh.

That day at Moonee Valley would be the final time racing fans would have the privilege of witnessing Starcraft race on Australian soil as the strapping chestnut was about to embark on his most ambitious racing schedule to date, one that would see him compete against the finest milers in Europe and achieve international acclaim.

Starcraft joined the Newmarket stable of world respected trainer Luca Cumani in England where he was prepared for his maiden Northern Hemisphere assignment in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot. And he didn't disappoint, chasing home European heavyweights Valixir and Ratki for a creditable third.

He eventually went on to triumph in the G1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp in France and the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes beating Dubawi, a son of the freakish Dubai Millennium from the powerful Godolphin stable.

The latter race was one that Makin had always dreamed of winning and Starcraft obliged in breathtaking fashion.

After his highly successful European sojourn which incidentally earned him the title of World Champion Older Turf Miler, Starcraft's sights were turned to America where he made his final racetrack appearance in the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic in October 2005.

As he had typified throughout his career Starcraft was gallant in the attempt, finishing a very meritorious seventh of 13 starters behind US stars Saint Liam and Flower Alley. It was an outstanding performance really when you consider the race was run on dirt, the first time Starcraft had ever been tested on the foreign surface.

Starcraft now resides at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley and is by all accounts performing fabulously well as a duel hemisphere stallion. As expected he has been well received in the Northern Hemisphere covering 105 mares in his first season at Cheveley Park Stud in England.

Heavenly which is actually bay in colour unlike her chestnut hued big brother and sister, will be hoping that is the only difference they share as she sets out to fill those mighty big horseshoes.

by Peter Mullin -

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