Grant and Alana Williams have a Group 1 program planned for their Star Turn mare Alsephina and her stablemate Starry Heights is another potential black-type performer for the Ascot summer carnival.
Starry Heights (Photo / Western Racepix) is also by Vinery Stud sire Star Turn and he’s racing with more confidence since the addition of blinkers. Having Willie Pike back on board at Belmont has also helped him win the Mrs Mac’s Hcp (1650m) on July 19 and the Congratulations Holly Watson Hcp (1600m) on Saturday.
“He attacked the line last time and was dominant up in grade today,” Grant Williams said. “It’s good to see him living up to the promise he showed early on.”
Starry Heights (4g Star Turn – Highly Illustrious by High Chaparral) was bred by Korilya Stud’s Ellie Giles and sold for $35,000 through the Ruby Racing & Breeding consignment at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions. His dam is a direct descendant of Denise’s Joy (Seventh Hussar).
“The blinkers have brought him to life and he will be going to better levels,” Pike predicted. “We had a good run three-wide with cover but I was worried about the leaders skipping away along the inside speed lane. He did it well and will get further than a mile.”
Meanwhile, Alsephina has firmed from $8 into a $6 favourite for the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) worth $1.5 million at Ascot on November 25.
A Group 3 winner of the Starstruck Classic (1600m) and La Trice Classic (1800m) last season, she has built an overall career strike-rate of 9 wins in 11 starts for earnings approaching $400,000.
Grant and Alana Williams prepare Alsephina for a syndicate managed by former Henley Brook breeders Michael and Carolyn Grant. They raced her dam Delta Gee to victory in the 2009 Natasha Stakes (LR, 2200m) at Ascot. The Street Cry mare travelled to Melbourne for the 2010 spring carnival and was runner-up to Response (Charge Forward) in the VRC Matron Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m) at Flemington.
The Grants also bred Hokahey to win the Ladbrokes Hcp (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday. She is a daughter of Yarradale Stud sire War Chant (USA) and has turned a $60,000 price-tag at the 2019 Perth Magic Millions into $180,000 from 6 wins in 24 starts.