The persistence of local trainer Rudy Liefting paid dividends when Stars ‘N’ Cream edged out the Nigel Tiley-trained pair of Midnight Mass and Quicken Away in the Sonia Macfarlane Memorial (1400m).
An all-the-way winner on debut, Stars ‘N’ Cream had been placed once in her subsequent four starts before again finding the winner’s circle and had developed a tendency to over-race.
“I said to the owners, ‘don’t get rid of her, keep her with me and trust me’,” Liefting said.
“Her last few runs have been a bit ordinary, but I did have a glimmer of hope given she was running at home today.
“She did well to finish eighth and hang in there in a race won by Bonny Lass last start and the track looked like it had a little bit of cut in it today, which helped.
“I want to make a racehorse of her long-term and it was good to see her step out to 1400m today and get the job done.
“Nobody could control her at the track, and I have been riding her myself, so I think she has got a future.
“We are trying to calm her down and we are using different gear. I will just space her races and look after her. We will keep her going and she has got a bright future.”
Stars ‘N’ Cream is raced by Trevor Clarke and Chris Jones and Liefting was again busy at Karaka on Saturday sourcing more yearlings to add to their portfolio.
“It should keep them happy because I have just paid NZD$28,000 for a horse for them. I have spent about NZD$200,000 for them this week,” Liefting said.
Stars ‘N’ Cream is by exciting young sire Turn Me Loose, a triple Group One winning son of Iffraaj who has left a slew of winners throughout Australasia and Asia in recent weeks.
In keeping with the Iffraaj theme, Liefting bought a pair of fillies from the final New Zealand crop of the former Haunui Farm shuttle stallion in Book 1, and then went to NZD$28,000 to secure a daughter of Jon Snow in Book 2, with that first season sire also by Iffraaj.
“I paid NZD$130,000 for the Iffraaj out of Starwish, a Redoute’s Choice mare. She was quite a classy filly,” Liefting said.
“I also bought an Iffraaj filly from a good Pencarrow Stud family for NZD$45,000.
“I thought Iffraaj was somewhat the forgotten stallion. It was his last lot of yearlings and he is capable of throwing a high-quality horse. People have focused in on Almanzor and Turn Me Loose, who are sire sons or grandsons of Iffraaj.”
Liefting slightly exceeded the budget to purchase a filly by Jon Snow out of the four-time winner Purpose at NZD$28,000 not long before Stars ‘N’ Cream won.
“I am quite happy with the Jon Snow filly and she has a page and I didn’t have much money left to spend. I went NZD$8,000 over budget but when Stars ‘N’ Cream won it didn’t matter too much.
“If we can get some performance on the track, then there is a bit of residual value.
“We have decided that the more expensive Iffraaj filly will be syndicated and go to the O’Sullivan-Scott stable, but the other two will come to me.”