Bletchingly Stakes Hope Runway Star Nears Retirement

Morphettville horseman Phillip Stokes is keen for at least one more run for his class mare Runway Star after Saturday’s 2016 Bletchingly Stakes but said connections were pushing for her retirement.

Runway Star

Runway Star runs first-up in Saturday’s 2016 Bletchingly Stakes that could turn out to be her swansong race before retirement. Photo: Jenny Barnes.

The five-year-old daughter of Northern Meteor will head to the breeding barn after her short one or two run return this season, which starts and ultimately could end on the weekend in Caulfield’s $150,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).

“She’s got some nice Black-type in Adelaide but we thought it would be important if we could get some Black-type in Melbourne before she goes to stud,” Stokes told Racing Victoria, confirming the mare for Saturday’s weight-for-age clash.

To date Runway Star has had 18 starts for six wins, the latest being in the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) at home in Adelaide on May 21, and was previously prepared by Peter Moody.

That capped off a strong autumn – winter campaign for the still lightly-raced mare who backed up from a close sixth to Precious Gem when defeated under two and a half lengths in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m).

Runway Star trialled on July 8 at Murray Bridge running second to Sharkpeace over 900m ahead of her Bletchingly Stakes run on Saturday where she has just her second Caulfield Start after an 11th to Politeness in last year’s Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m).

She boasts a star first-up record of four wins from six resuming runs to date, and Stokes is confident she has what it takes to add to that fresh on Saturday.

“She seems to like having her runs spaced. I gave her a soft trial at Murray Bridge two weeks ago and I’ve been really happy with her work since,” he said.

“Because of her racing pattern she always needs luck but doesn’t know how to run a bad race and she should run well.”

Stokes added he would be keen to test Runway Star out over 1400m for the first time this spring in a race like the Flemington’s $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes on September 10, but that her Vinery Stud owners would decide if she races on after this Saturday.

“I’d actually like to get her out over a bit further and I think 1400 is not beyond her,” he said.

“A race like the Let’s Elope Stakes might be a nice race for her, but her owners, Vinery Stud, will make the ultimate decision as to when she has her last run.”

Stokes has a longer wait before he welcomes back to the track his 2014 Emirates Stakes winner Hucklebuck who wouldn’t run until the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight until Emirates Stakes Day, November 5.

“I’m going to run him in the Darley Classic down the straight. He’s never been down the straight but I think it should be a nice race for him,” he confirmed.

“I’m then going to back him up a week later in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown.

“I think 1400m is as far as he wants.”

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