Racing

Starlight will shine even brighter

Looking for a horse with character, ability and potential. A horse that could steer you into the 2021 racing season with hope?

Well, there is a good one lolling and rolling in newly crowned Singapore champion trainer Michael Clements' yard.

His name is Starlight. He is bright and he is a star in the making.

An impressive winner on debut on Sunday, when he whipped his rivals in a Restricted Maiden event over the 1,200m on the Polytrack, Starlight is certainly going places.

Indeed, such was his showing that Clements' assistant trainer Michael White was gushing with praise for what he saw as an up-and-coming star in the barn.

"He would be the most promising horse I've seen since I've been here," said the Australian, who joined Clements in 2015. "It's the first time I've been nervous about a horse. I was worried he might even jump at the giant screen, he's that kind of horse, mentally he's very timid. Yes, he's super talented, but he's not quite there yet."

Such praise for a first-time winner must surely be backed up and White had it all prepared. He added: "He was not fully screwed down when he won on Sunday. I would say he was only 70 per cent fit."

White was not the only one impressed with Starlight's showing. His jockey, Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, had some good words for the youngster and was proud to have ridden the Australian-bred who had a load of schooling before Sunday.

"We were a bit worried he might look around and jump shadows, but he was very professional," said Beuzelin.

"He was very quick out of the gates, I was able to give him a breather mid-race and he accelerated beautifully. It was a very easy win."

Indeed, from the way Starlight put the dimmer on his 11 rivals in the $75,000 race, his owners - PSM Stable - may well have a lot more fun with the three-year-old.

Clements paid A$210,000 (S$211,000) for the then two-year-old at the Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale last year.

Backed down to $8 favouritism, Starlight's win was never in doubt once he settled on the steel after coming across from his barrier No 12. Stablemate Zahau (Vlad Duric) emerged from the pack to take second place.

The ease and the fluency of that win prompted Beuzelin to say: "He'll be a nice horse for me next year."

But perhaps, the biggest compliment he received was from White.

When the gushing had stopped, he said: "The only one who doesn't know how good he is, is him."

HORSE RACING