Ripe for stardom


He's got the price tag, the name, the imposing looks and the aristocratic pedigree.

But has he got the ability?

Rockstardom, the first foal of triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, makes his race debut at Geelong today in a 1300m Maiden.

You won't miss the aptly named Rockstardom, a $1.5 million colt with a baldy face and three long white socks.

Tony Santic, who raced Makybe Diva - the winner of eight Group 1s and an Australian record $14.5 million in prizemoney during an incomparable career, has a share in Rockstardom along with a host of friends and trainer Danny O'Brien's clients.

Rockstardom, a son of English and Irish Derby winner Galileo, is nominated for the Caulfield Guineas, but O'Brien said a more realistic goal was perhaps the Victoria Derby or the AJC Derby in the autumn.

The colt had several preparations as a juvenile, a couple of barrier trials and began his spring preparation in May.

"He's had a nice, long build-up. He had a couple of trials at Geelong and now he's ready to have a race," O'Brien said.

"Obviously, he's not going to be seen to his best advantage until he gets to 2000m or 2400m.

"If he did everything right, you might get him towards the Derby at the end of spring.

"He's done everything we could have expected at this stage. With his pedigree, you were never going to do too much with him until his spring three-year-old days.

"He's probably ahead of schedule going to the races now.

"It would not have surprised me if he wasn't ready to race until after Christmas, but he's certainly ready to have a run."

While there's the obligatory expectation, given the identity of his mum, O'Brien isn't feeling any pressure. Horses are trained, he said, according to their pedigree.

O'Brien can understand all the hype about the colt.

The aura of Makybe Diva , who also has a two-year-old filly by Fuschia Pegasus and a yearling colt by Encosta De Lago, is omnipresent.

From the moment he bought the colt, O'Brien's phone rang hot with people trying to own a slice of the action.

"Makybe Diva's appeal to the public is way beyond the average good race mare," he said.

"Stable clients immediately wanted to get in, people from Port Lincoln that Tony knows rang and some of Tony's friends are in it.

"We ended up declining people. It's a problem I wish I had more often."

Rockstardom is unlikely to be an instant success, but O'Brien said that with time and over more ground, the colt would develop into a good stayer.

If Rockstardom proved to be a third as good as his mum, all connected would be deliriously happy.

By Adrian Dunn, to view Herald Sun story click here

Photo by Herald Sun's Nicole Garmston

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