Star Patrol (Starspangledbanner) wins the Gr.2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington

Group 2 Win Kicks Off Stakes Double For Starspangledbanner

Star Patrol (5g Starspangledbanner - It’s One, by O’Reilly) kicked off a Stakes double for Starspangledbanner on Saturday when recording back-to-back Group wins in the Gilgai Stakes at Flemington.

Clinton McDonald’s progressive sprinter placed in a Group 3 before landing a Listed sprint in January and returned last month to capture the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis over Saturday’s course and distance. Breaking well from a wide draw, he tracked the pace under Ben Melham and was pushed along to lead a furlong from home. Soon in command, he was eased down to justify favouritism by a length, with another length and a quarter back to a Group 1 performer in third.

After revealing his confidence before the race, the winning trainer confirmed that the Group 1 Champions Sprint is next on the agenda for Star Patrol, saying “He was so dominant down the straight but there's probably better horses (in it) but his asset is that he loves the straight and he can run time down here.”

Saturday’s win brought Star Patrol’s earnings past the $700,000 mark, with a record of six wins and five placings from 16 starts. Bred by Greenhaven Park Stud, the son of Starspangledbanneris owned by a partnership including JPM Ma and K Wong.

Back in the Northern Hemisphere, Aussie Girl (3f Starspangledbanner - Ravissante, by Galileo) made all to justify favouritism in the Listed Brigid’s Pastures Stakes at the Curragh.

The Fozzie Stack-trained filly won her maiden in April and progressed to win a valuable handicap at the Curragh in July. Stakes-placed on her next two starts, she was ridden by Colin Keane for the first time on Saturday and raced down the centre of the track throughout the six furlong sprint. Ridden inside the final furlong, she kept on well to deny British raider Pinafore by a length and three quarters.

Speaking after the race, the winning rider said, “She jumps, she travels and she’s tough. She’s a filly that should only improve with time.”

Owned by Peter Piller, Aussie Girl is the best performer bred by Airlie Stud out of the Galileo mare Ravissante.