Chris Voak, Western Australia’s leading reinsman last season, has a splendid record in the Group 1 Mares Classic, and he predicts that Star Of Diamonds will develop into a leading candidate for the rich feature event for mares next summer.
He was full of praise for Star Of Diamonds after driving her to a superb victory in the $50,000 WASBA Breeders Stakes over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
“I have a good record in the Mares Classic, winning with Leda McNally in 2013, Frith in 2015 and Gotta Go Gabbana in 2019,” said Voak. “Now I’m associated with another nice mare in Star Of Diamonds who is capable of running a big race in the Mares Classic next summer. She is still only four and is exciting. Her form in feature events for mares is outstanding.”
In the past ten months Star Of Diamonds, trained in Busselton by Barry Howlett, has won the Group 3 Golden Girls Mile at Pinjarra, the Group 3 Race For Roses and Friday night’s Group 2 Breeders Stakes. She also has finished a half-head second to Blockjorg in the Group 3 Daintys Daughter Classic at Pinjarra, third behind Wainui Creek in the Group 2 Empress Stakes and second to Savvy Bromac in the Group 3 Johnson Pace.
Star Of Diamonds has certainly improved in leaps and bounds after managing only four placings from her first 16 starts. Her next 18 starts have produced eight wins and eight placings.
Star Of Diamonds was second favourite at $3.70 from barrier No. 4 in Friday night’s big race in which Heavens Showgirl, from the No. 2 barrier on the back line, was a firm $2.75 favourite.
Queen Shenandoah, racing first-up, led for the first 400m before Voak sent Star Of Diamonds to the front. Talkerup raced in the breeze, with Heavens Showgirl enjoying a perfect sit in the one-out, one-back position.
Emily Suvaljko switched Heavens Showgirl three wide with a strong burst 600m from home. But Voak had seen Heavens Showgirl enjoying a perfect trip and he gave Star Of Diamonds her head as she sprinted over the third 400m section of the final mile in a sparkling 27.3sec.
“I started to really sprint from the 800m to try to get Heavens Showgirl to make her run early and took the punt that Star Of Diamonds would hang on.”
Voak’s tactics worked out beautifully, and Star Of Diamonds, with a final quarter in 28.8sec. was not seriously challenged and she won by a length and a half from Heavens Showgirl.
by Ken Casellas