Wanted down under: Starman team consider slot in A$15m Everest after July Cup triumph

Horse Racing Starman connections July Cup
Delighted connections: Starman with owner David Ward (holding horse), who has offers to run the colt in the Everest. Photo: Edwalkerracing.com

By Jon Lees

GB: July Cup winner Starman could contest the Everest in Australia later this year after connections received approaches for him to run in the world’s richest turf race.

Holders of slots in the A$15 million (£8m) Sydney sprint have already sounded out David Ward about the challenge, which Starman’s owner-breeder said is being given careful consideration.

Four-year-old colt Starman made his G1 breakthrough when he won a star-studded edition of the July Cup at Newmarket to firmly establish himself at the top of Europe’s sprinting pecking order. It was his fifth victory of a six race career.

“We’ve had a number of slots offered to us for the horse to run in October so whether we do or whether we don’t, I don’t think we know at this stage,” said Ward. “It’s been very kind of people to consider the horse and very kind of them to ask us if we’d wish to take up one of the slots.

“It all depends on how he performs in France [in the Prix Maurice de Gheest] and we will make a decision from there.”

“It’s something we are considering, there is no doubt about that,” he added. “The options are reasonably limited apart from France and Haydock, but this is a big deal. For a northern hemisphere horse to go down there and win it would be something special.”

To compete in the Everest 12 starting slots for an unspecified horse are sold for A$600,000 (£322,000) each. Slot holders can race their own horse, lease or share in another horse or sell their place.

All slots have been sold for the October 16 race for which there are four confirmed starters so far, Nature Strip, Masked Crusader, Lost And Running and Gytrash with seven slots vacant, including those held by Godolphin and Coolmore.

Starman will travel outside England for the first time for the August 8 date at Deauville and pandemic restrictions will be a key factor as to whether he subsequently ventures further overseas.

“I’ve never been racing in Australia so that is something I will need to find out about,” Ward said. “I don’t suspect I will run the horse if I can’t go. It’s a big part of breeding and owning for me.

“If the ground is going to be heavy again on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot it wouldn’t be his thing.”

Ward added that Hong Kong’s International meeting on December 5 would also feature among Starman’s overseas options this year. “The Hong Kong Sprint appeals because it’s actually run on my 60th birthday,” he said.

“If the horse goes the right way and travels okay, we would like to certainly consider some of these races towards the latter part of this year and into next.”

Ward, who runs his own waste management business in Derbyshire, enjoyed his biggest success on the track, since he entered ownership in 2008, when his son of Dutch Art beat Dragon Symbol and Oxted at Newmarket under Tom Marquand.

“I’ve never had G1 success before so it was the same for me as it was for Ed,” he said. “By Saturday night the adrenaline had dropped out of the bottom of our feet and we were absolutely shattered. 

“It’s remarkable. I’ve watched the race a number of times. It’s a phenomenal feeling to win a race like that and with one that I bred. It doesn’t get better than that.”

• Visit the Everest website 

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