Ed Walker’s faith is a good sign for Starman as the Usain Bolt of the horse world seeks to follow July Cup success with Haydock glory
- Starman is a heavyweight in every sense of the word, he weighs in at 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 sprint star for Haydock
As much as you try to find a hole in the chance of Starman in the Group One Betfair Haydock Sprint Cup (3.30) it is hard not to be firmly in his camp.
The colt, trained by Ed Walker, had most of his rivals behind him when he won the July Cup at Newmarket earlier this season and has the fast ground he needs to show his best form.
Walker is a good friend of mine — he used to be an assistant trainer to my dad — and chatting to him on Friday I detected a lot of confidence and positivity.
Ed Starman faces 10 rivals, eight of which were behind him in Newmarket’s July Cup
That’s not necessarily in Ed’s nature so it has to be a good sign. He was also very bullish before Starman won the July Cup.
Ed describes Starman as the Usain Bolt of the horse world and that is not simply because of his blistering pace,
Like the great Jamaican eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Starman does not 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 Starman weighs in at 588 kilos. He is a big boy!
The great Australian sprinter Black Caviar was pushing 600 kilos, but the marker I always recall when thinking about racehorses’ weights was Purple Moon, who I still have at home.
I was hands-on when Purple Moon, a 16 hands son of Galileo, travelled 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 460 kilos.
That gives you an idea just how powerful Starman is — a heavyweight in every sense of the word.
Before he gave Walker the first Group One win of his training career at Newmarket, Starman was a bit colty and sweaty, showing off a bit in the preliminaries.
It didn’t seem to hinder his chances and Ed says he is a bit of character at home. But I don’t see that as a problem this afternoon. Haydock has a different layout to Newmarket. There will be less of a lead-up to the race.
Starman will be saddled in the stable yard right and then go straight to the parade ring and quickly down to action.
Quite simply if Starman then reproduces what he did at Newmarket on ground that suits him he should be very difficult to beat.
Trainer Ed Walker has a lot of confidence and positivity in his sprint star for Haydock
If you don’t fancy backing the favourite, you are left looking for a much longer-priced runner who could hit the frame and my best pick for that is Happy Romance. The Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old filly has not done a lot wrong.
She returned to winning ways in the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in July when she got back on quicker ground she likes for the first time in a while. She will get her ground again 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 celebrates its 10th anniversary of sponsoring the QIPCO British Champion Series this year — qatarracingltd.com