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Havana’s easy four-length victory at Canterbury on Wednesday was more than usually satisfying for his co-breeder Paul Favretto and fellow owners including Arrowfield and Blue Sky Thoroughbreds.

The handsome 3YO son of Starcraft showed his trainer Paul Messara abundant early ability and was third in the ATC Todman S. G2 as a juvenile. However, a lack of concentration undermined his raceday performances and after a frustrating Spring campaign, the decision was made to geld him.

The result was today’s sparkling win. Jockey Nash Rawiller took Havana forward from his wide barrier and they controlled the pace comfortably, then sprinted quickly at the 300-metre mark to put the race beyond doubt. Havana, who carried topweight of 59.5 kg, cut out the 1100 metres in 1:03.57, and posted 34.65 for his final 600, despite being eased down over the final fifty metres.

Paul Favretto was both thrilled and relieved. “We all thought he could win that well and I’m so glad for Paul [Messara], he’s always had massive faith in him and presented him looking magnificent today.

“He’s a totally different horse now, he really wants to race, and Nash was surprised by the way he clicked up a gear in the straight.”

Paul bred Havana in partnership with Paul Rowe and kept a share in him after he was purchased for $290,000 by Blue Sky at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Arrowfield will offer Havana’s full brother as Lot 255 at next month’s Inglis Australian Easter Sale. The Arrowfield draft includes another two Starcraft colts, full brothers to dual stakeswinner Ain’tnofallenstar and Group 3 winner Lunar Rise.

Paul Favretto says of the Top Cuban yearling, “Like Havana, he’s blossomed during his sale prep and is a very athletic mover.” Top Cuban (by Anabaa) is now in foal to Redoute’s Choice.

At this stage, Havana’s Autumn targets are the Darby Munro S. LR over 1200 metres at Rosehill on 29 March, and the $500,000 Royal Sovereign S. G2 at the same distance on the second day of The Championships at Randwick, 19 April.

Starcraft was also represented today by 2YO filly Shantra (ex Shantreusse by Danehill), who made a pleasing debut, finishing second at Kyneton for owners including Brad Spicer and her breeder Suez Thoroughbreds.

 
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