Despite his 50-1 odds and now being 7 years old against younger rivals, Stargazer turned back the clock yesterday and reminded us all just how good he still is under the young hands of Ray Dawson. Unconsidered by just about everyone, but Stargazer had run an improved race on his second start back even though well beaten , crucially the handicapper has given him a chance again, and he had much better ground yesterday, quickening up smoothly, getting there soon enough in hindsight but hanging on by a neck at the line when the pack were closing. Phil told me last night that it was one of the most satisfying and happy race days of his life, even though the atmosphere at the track wasn’t exactly buzzing!
To bring Stargazer back from so many setbacks has been a long and patient process, and in the capable hands of work rider Sammi Mcnicholas at home, he had begun to thrive again as his fitness built up.
One of his Owners, Neil Hassall, in whose red & grey colours he runs, has just declared ‘he hopes Stargazer is in better shape than him this morning’ after enjoying a good celebration with his family last night, this is one of their local tracks so it couldn’t have been better . A £7000 Newmarket purchase out of Michael Stoute’s stable, he has been one of Phil’s best buys and it’s great that we still own half of him to enjoy these days with the Hassall family.
After an emotional week retiring Lady Buttons earlier than expected, Man of Verve and Stargazer have given us a spring back in our step ahead of our busiest time of year. Phil’s off now to check Stargazer’s legs…. the most stress he is going to have all day as the next morning is always the crucial time. Where does he go next if all is well? It’s a tricky time with the weather and there aren’t tons of options, Phil will be looking abroad as well as in the UK for this versatile horse who can perform to his best anywhere from 1m 5f to 2 miles. We’d love nothing more than to have a try over hurdles with him but due to his fragility, that, for now, is still on hold. He’d love to try and win a big one with him on the flat ⭐️ Stargazer should also be delighted with himself as with the proceeds of his win we are going to buy him an Equine solarium to hang above his stable and keep him warm for the winter months.
Our other runners returned safely from Market Rasen yesterday, Winfola pleasing us in the novice hurdle for a respectable 6th in a decent mares event, crucially hurdling much better than her first two starts and hopefully she will get a sensible mark that she can build on now to run in novice handicaps.
Today we have double summer winner ‘Madeeh’ up at Musselburgh in the 5.40 and Phil says it’s a hot contest, plenty with chances and if he finishes in the first four it will be a good run. He’s priced around 9-1 and runs in the capable hands of Phil Dennis.