Miss Hipstar ($3.30) underlined her quality and her fighting character when she scored a tough win in the Listed Dalrello Stakes over 1000m at Eagle farm.
The Kelly Schweida trained two-year-old daughter of Star Turn was racing first-up after a three-and-a-half month break from racing action, but she was up for the task at all stages of the contest.
She jumped well and showed telling early speed to find a position of advantage early, sitting third, just two lengths off the $41 outsider Fierce Warrior who had taken up the role of leader.
Fierce Warrior kicked on strongly in the straight but, by the 250m mark, challengers were being produced right across the track and Larry Cassidy and Miss Hipstar were front and centre of that group.
Miss Hipstar went past a tiring Fierce Warrior inside the final 200m, but Ashema ($5) came with her and these two runners joined issue with meaning with Miss Hipstar always holding a narrow advantage. At the 100m mark Ashema started to hang in under pressure and brushed Miss Hipstar, but the latter was unfazed by that slight contact and kept going, firmly focussed on her task.
Ashema could do no more and it was left to the $3.10 favourite Stellar Magic, who rallied late, to get the closest to Miss Hipstar on the line, still a half-a-length in arrears, with Ashema gamely staying on for third, also less than a length behind the winner.
“We flipped the coin here. We got out of step with all of the wet weather with the jump-outs and trials,” said Schweida. “She has only had one jump-out since January … and we sort of put trust in her that she has got a bit ticker.
‘She looked like she was cruising, but then I thought … aww, we are in a bit of trouble … but she dug deep.
“She is a sweetheart of a horse. She has just got the best nature. How far she will go … I just don’t know. She has got a lot of natural speed. She looks like a 1400m horse or a miler.
“I just hope that this run doesn’t take too much out of her because she dug in pretty deep. They looked like they coming left and right and she was strong.”
Schweida was spot on about Cassidy’s admiration for Miss Hipstar.
“It’s really weird because the very first time I ever rode her in a trial … she was very green and I just looked after her … but I just came in and said to Kelly (Schweida) … Queensland Oaks filly?
“And then, in her next trial she jumped and led and brained them,” continued Cassidy. “If you had told me after the first trial I was going to win over 1000m at Doomben from the outside gate, I’ve have said ‘never.’
“She is pretty versatile. She has got speed, but she wants to relax. It has just been because of all of the barrier draws we have had that we have had to ride for speed. We have never really drawn a decent gate on her.
“She hasn’t been put under any pressure to get here. She has brought herself along. She only had one barrier trial … quite a soft trial.
“She looks after herself in trackwork. She is very, very lazy but she comes to hand pretty quickly … as she showed here.
“I’ve never ridden a horse with her ability where you will be flat running fourteen for the last furlong by herself, and you really have to chase her to make her go faster, but you put her with another horse … different story.
“I am excited about her. She has put a bit of a spring in my step.
“I’m just hoping this didn’t take too much out of her, but Kelly is a good trainer. He’ll work that out.”