Star Of Justice (Justify) winning the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes at Ashburton

G1 Goal for Justify Filly

Viva Vienna might have been the hot favourite in Monday’s transferred Group III Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton, but it was her stablemate Star Of Justice (3f Justify x Fair Isle, by Fastnet Rock) who took centre stage when winning the three-year-old feature.

The daughter of Justify jumped away well in-between favoured runners Illicit Dreams and Viva Vienna before jockey Darren Danis eased her back into the trail, where she had a cosy run throughout. Danis found clear running room three-wide when turning for home and Star Of Justice was too strong to the line beating Viva Vienna by a length.

While it wasn’t the result that most expected, trainer Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson were rapt to get the quinella with their pair of fillies.

“They both ran really well,” Bergerson said.

“The query was always going to be the 1400m with Viva Vienna. She had to use a bit of petrol early and was found wanting late.

“Star Of Justice just had a really good run from the barrier, got into a perfect spot, and Darren rode her really well.

“She was strong through the line and it looks like the step up to 1600m will be ideal.”

Walker was just as pleased with the result.

“She’s (Star Of Justice) a filly that keeps improving out of sight,” he said. “Initially, as a two-year-old, she didn’t really show us much, but one day we put blinkers on her at Avondale trials and she improved no end since.

“When she had the blinkers on at her second raceday start we saw the same thing, and she won at Riccarton, and just another really good win today.

“She was well ridden by Darren, who is underrated and going well at present, and the South Island team is doing an outstanding job.

“I think she’ll eat up a mile at Riccarton, absolutely love it, and she’s a filly with a high cruising speed which is really helpful as well.”

With two wins from three starts, Star Of Justice will now press on to the Group I Barneswood Farm 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton next month.

A $190,000 Karaka Book 1 purchase for David Ellis from Pencarrow Stud, Star of Justice is the best of four winners from four foals to race from Fair Isle, a winning Fastnet Rock daughter of stakes-winner Miss Scarlatti, who was also second in the Group I VRC Oaks. Third dam Crimson is a Group II winner by Zabeel from a pedigree packed with staying stakes-winners so longer trips will hold no fears for Star of Justice.

Fair Isle has a yearling filly by Justify and was covered last year by So You Think.

Star of Justice is the 22nd stakes-winner for Justify and is his second from a daughter of Fastnet Rock joining Learning to Fly. The nick is showing plenty of promise with 10 winners from 13 starters.

Justify is back in Australia this spring at a fee of $77,000.