Ed Walker’s faith bodes well for Starman as the horse world’s Usain Bolt looks to follow July Cup success with Haydock glory
- Starman is a heavyweight in every sense of the word, he weighs 588 kilos
- Colt had most of his rivals behind him when he won the July Cup at Newmarket
- Trainer Walker has a lot of confidence and positivity in his sprinter for Haydock
As much as you’re trying to find a gap in Starman’s odds in the Group One Betfair Haydock Sprint Cup (3.30), it’s hard not to be firmly in his camp.
Trained by Ed Walker, the colt had most of his rivals behind him when he won the July Cup at Newmarket earlier this season and has the fast terrain he needs to show his best form.
Walker is a good friend of mine – he was an assistant coach to my father – and while talking to him on Friday I discovered a lot of confidence and positivity.
Starman faces 10 rivals, eight of which were behind him in landing Newmarket’s July Cup
That’s not necessarily in Ed’s nature, so it must be a good sign. He was also very optimistic before Starman won the July Cup.
Ed describes Starman as the Usain Bolt of the horse world and that’s not just because of his lightning-fast pace,
Like the great Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medalist, Starman doesn’t have the typical stocky, compact physique of a sprinter. He is quite tall and leggy like Bolt and also has the same muscular frame.
Ed told me that Starman weighs 588 kilos. He’s a big boy!
Great Australian sprinter Black Caviar pushed 600 pounds, but the marker I always remember when I think of racehorse weights was Purple Moon, which I still have at home.
I was hands-on when Purple Moon, a 16-hand son of Galileo, traveled to Australia to finish second in the 2007 Melbourne Cup. He was a stayer rather than a sprinter, but his typical weight would be around 460kg .
Trainer Ed Walker has a lot of confidence and positivity in his sprinter for Haydock
That gives you an idea of how powerful Starman is – a heavyweight in every sense of the word.
Before giving Walker the first Group One win of his training career at Newmarket, Starman was a bit chilly and sweaty, showing off a bit in the preliminaries.
It didn’t seem to get in the way of his chances and Ed says he has a bit of character at home.
But I don’t see that as a problem today. Haydock has a different layout than Newmarket. The run-up to the race will be less.
Starman is saddled to the right of the stable area and then goes straight to the parade ring and quickly down to spring into action.
Quite simply, if Starman then reproduces what he did in Newmarket in a terrain that suits him, he would be very hard to beat.
If you don’t feel like backing the fave you’re looking for a much more expensive runner that could hit the frame and my best pick for that is Happy Romance.
The three-year-old filly, trained by Richard Hannon, hasn’t done much wrong.
She returned to winning ways in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in July, when for the first time in a while she got back on faster ground that she liked.
She regains ground and track and distance should be perfect for the 16-1 shot.
Francesca Cumani is an ambassador for Qatar Racing, a subsidiary of QIPCO which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary of sponsoring the QIPCO British Champion Series — qatarracingltd.com