Savabeel gelding Starrybeel picked up the biggest win of his career at Ellerslie on Tuesday when taking out the Dunstan Feed Stayers Championship Final (2200m).
The Go Racing-owned runner settled to the rear of the field from his wide barrier for jockey Michael McNab, where he remained for the majority of the run.
McNab navigated his charge through the 16 horse field down the straight, finding clear racing room on the inside with 200m to go where he was able to account for his opposition, winning by 1-1/4 lengths over The Good Fight.
The Stephen Marsh-trained runner impressed his connections with his winning performance and Marsh believes the five-year-old could have a bright future.
“We decided to put the blinkers back on,” Marsh said. “He went a couple of good races right-handed as a colt. Michael had confidence in him and I thought the ride from Michael was an absolute ripper.
“He had confidence, he was pumped before the race and he couldn’t have done a better job.”
McNab was pleased with the win, which he said was much needed since recently returning to ride in New Zealand from a stint in Queensland.
“I needed that race,” he said. “It (Ellerslie) is a place where you have got to be on your game because there are good jockeys in the jockeys room that could compete all over the world. You have got to always be on your game, so it is good to get it.
“He’s a smart horse. You can tell from what he’s done left-handed.”
Marsh said Starrybeel could potentially head for a break now and believes the gelding has the ability to be a cups horse on his return.
“He was primed, ready for today,” Marsh said. “We’ll get him home and see what he’s like, but I’m rapt that he got over the line.
“This was his little bit of a final this time in. We will just work it out, but we do feel he is a cups horse in the making.” – NZ Racing Desk