Caulfield races: Still A Star stands up again for ailing training Bill Ryan

Tasmanian mare Still A Star just keeps coming back for more. Just like her trainer Bill Ryan.

Still A Star struggled in the wet ground at her first mainland run in the $5 million All-Star Mile at The Valley last month but she has shown her true ability since getting on to firmer ground at Caulfield.

The mare ran second to Group 1 winner Mr Quickie in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap at her last run but it was her turn to shine in the Listed Anniversary Vase (1400m).

Her trainer Bill Ryan, who is battling a terminal lung disease, again defied doctors’ advice to travel to Melbourne to watch his beloved ‘Minnie in action at Caulfield and Still A Star did not disappoint.

Tasmanian trainer Bill Ryan again defied medical advice to watch Still A Star score at Caulfield on Saturday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Jockey Michael Poy saved ground on the deteriorating track before Still A Star ($4.40) proved too strong for the $3.80 favourite Missile Mantra, giving her trainer a welcome energy boost in the process.

“It’ll last a couple of days,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the Anniversary Vase would be Still A Star’s last run before the spring.

The Longford horseman has big plans for the winner of nine of 16 starts next season.

“She’ll go home, go to the paddock and I’ll bring her back and get her ready for the spring and see if she can go better,” Ryan said.

“I’d love to win a Group 1 with her if she’s good enough. We’ll certainly give her a chance.”


She's a star alright.

Ryan said he would look at races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over the 1400m course in September for Still A Star.

Poy said Still A Star’s form showed she could handle the jump to the top level in the spring.

“She was beaten a nose by Mr Quickie, a dual Group 1 winner who franked his form last week running second in Adelaide,” Poy said.

“Even Missile Mantra ran fourth in the Empire Rose beaten a length-and-a-half so there’s Group 1 form around her it’s just if she measures up.”

Sunday Fix


Chris Waller’s hand for next Saturday’s Group 1 Schweppes Oaks received a boost when Brookspire scored easily at Caulfield.

Waller won the Adelaide feature with Toffee Tongue last year and has the pre-post favourite Steinem for the Morphettville event.

Brookspire had little trouble disposing of the locals at her first Melbourne outing in the Ern Jensen Funerals Handicap (1600m).

Brookspire strode to a 2¼ length win with jockey Michael Walker in the saddle over the $26 chance Succeed Indeed.

“Chris’ team have done a great job placing her around this race so onwards and upwards towards the Oaks.“

TAB moved Brookspire to the fourth line of Oaks betting at $9. Steinem is a $4 favourite.

Brookspire will back up in the SA Oaks. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


If a horse doesn‘t want to race, it won’t race.

Designs proved that fact at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained filly simply refused to jump with the field in the second race of the day.

A $10 chance, Designs simply loped out of the barriers in her own time as her opposition charged into the distance, taking no part in the race.

“She just didn‘t want to race today, so she didn’t,” Designs’ jockey Damien Thornton said.


A sum of $600 doesn‘t go far in 2021 but that amount was enough to send Curran’s owners on an amazing ride.

Trainers Leonie Proctor and Lyn Tolson paid that price for three-year-old Curran at a tried horse sale but the gelding banked more than $97,000 for connections with his win in The Di Beretta Handicap (1200m).

Curran had earned more than $30,000 in his previous four starts but the gelding went to a new level when he mowed down frontrunner Yulong Command late to score his second win.

Apprentice Matthew Cartwright made it a family affair when he piloted Curran to victory.

He is the son of Proctor and former jockey Rikki Cartwright while Tolson is his grandmother.

“It’s definitely the best win I’ve had. The thrill and to do it for family, I can’t believe it.,“ Cartwright said.

Bargain buy Curran has been a money-spinner for connections. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


A short break failed to halt Open Minded’s winning run, which stretched to four starts in the Stow Storage Solutions Australia Handicap (1200m).

Open Minded has raced in terrific form since trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman added blinkers to the sprinter‘s gear in late December.

Having his first run for eight weeks, Open Minded ($9.50) stayed unbeaten in blinkers when jockey Damien Thornton steered him to a long neck win over Superium ($4.40).

Thornton said blinkers were the sole reason for Open Minded‘s impressive form.

“I rode him last week without blinkers and, to be honest, he was pretty useless,“ Thornton said.

“He’s pretty cruisy albeit you have to make him do it a bit early. Once he finds that rhythm and gets into that high cruising speed that he’s good from there. He’s pretty casual.“


Still on the blinkers theme, the Chris Waller-trained Yonkers was another beneficiary of the gear change in the Manhari Metals Handicap (2000m).

Waller nominated Yonkers for a 2600m race at Flemington on Sunday but decided to go for the shorter option at Caulfield while using blinkers on the import.

The well-backed Yonkers ($3.70 fav) gave his backers an easy watch to the home turn before striding to a soft win over the Peter Moody-trained Another Dollar ($31), completing a double for Damien Thornton.

Originally published asStar provides spark for her ailing trainer

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