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Star Kingdom - Profile of a Champion
Star Kingdom would go down in history as the most influential sire of
Australian racing with only the recent champion Danehill being thought of
with the same respect. Star Kingdom however stood at stud when a book
of 60 was considered large and a stallion might get 40-45 to the racetrack
where as nowadays a champion stallion might have 30 or more offerings at one
major yearling sale from a book of well over 100 mares. This is the
story of the rejected colt that was to sire his own dynasty which still
holds an influence in Australian racing to this day nearly 60 years after he
Star Kingdom was offered at the Doncaster sales in September 1947 and purchased for 3100 guineas by Wilfred Harvey. He was named Star King and entered the stables of JC Waugh and showed ability in trackwork.
Star King's first start was in a 2yo Maiden over 5 furlongs at Salisbury in April 1948 and as a short priced favourite he raced away from the opposition to win by 10 lengths. Two weeks later he raced away again winning the Sandown Park Produce Stakes over 5 furlongs by five lengths. Another three weeks later Star King again streeted the 21 other runners winning the Sorrell Stakes at Hurst Park by five lengths.
A short let up followed before he lined up against the other standout 2yo colt in Abernant in the 5 furlong National Breeders Produce Stakes. Star King jumped to the front and led Abernant by three lengths within 200m. Abernant soon closed the gap and took over racing clear past the 400m. Star King started to rally and chased Abernant though the colts were wide apart. Abernant led but Star King was rapidly overhauling him and as they hit the line they crossed together with the judge left to decide the winner. The photo finish had not yet evolved and the judge awarded the race to Abernant despite many including Star King's jockey being certain the chestnut colt had been in front past the post. Star King backed up ten days later in the Richmond Stakes over 6 furlongs and again defeated his opposition but not as brilliantly as on previous occasions with only a length to spare. His final start as a 2yo was in the Gimcrack Stakes over 6 furlongs at York. Star King raced to the front early and stayed there passing the post three lengths ahead of Makarpura (who was to also head to stud in Australia).
as a 3yo Star King was aimed at the classic races. First up he raced
away for an easy win in the Greenham Stakes over 7 furlongs and headed to
the 2000 Guineas over 1 mile at Newmarket. Connections were confident
that he'd handle the undulating surface and sharp rise to the post but in a
disappointing result as Nimbus held out Abernant in a photo Star King was
well back finishing 10th in a field of 13. Vets found nothing amiss and 5
weeks later Star King lined up in the Jersey Stakes over 7 furlongs at
Ascot. Fighting to the line Star King kept his nose in front to win
from Moondust with Krakatao third. Star King then went to a race well
known in recent years to Australians the July Cup run over the straight
course with the steep run to the line. The race only attracted a filed
of three with Abernant and Combined Operations taking on the chestnut colt.
Again Star King's connections met with disappointment as Abernant raced to
an easy win from Combined Operations with Star King last of the three.
A break of six weeks followed before Star King lined up in the Hungerford
Stakes over 7 furlongs with his only opponent Arc-en-Ciel. In a return
to form Star King won the race hard held by 1 1/2 lengths. With that
Star King was heading for stud but racehorse owner Clifford Leigh thought
the horse could add to his record as a 4yo and purchased the chestnut.