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Starcraft Eyes US Gr1 Cigar Mile

Monday, 31st October 2005

Meanwhile Starcraft "could continue his international exploits this year, as connections signalled their appetite for global success was undiminished" & "another crack on the US dirt could be considered," reported racingpost.co.uk. In the aftermath of Starcraft's 7th behind Saint Liam in the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Classic, owner Paul Makin "put to trainer Luca Cumani the idea of contesting the Cigar Mile (a Gr1 staged at Aqueduct on November 26 that carries a US$350,000 purse), an option still being considered, although the horse was due to fly back to London overnight". Starcraft "also has options in the Far East, but jockey Pat Valenzuela was so enthusiastic about his effort, Makin is tempted to have another try on dirt". Valenzuela declared: "I thought I was going to win it. Coming round the turn, I thought there was no way I would get beat. But when I got to the outside, he didn't respond the way I thought he would. He is a great horse. I love this horse. I think with this race under his belt he could run a better race the next time, maybe over a mile or 8.5 furlongs. I would love to ride him wherever he runs next." Makin said Starcraft "probably hadn't stayed a mile & a quarter on dirt" & he also complained the unprecedented security measures (introduced to clamp down on drug cheats) had proved an annoyance, noting: "It hasn't been a good week here. It's not a level playing field here. You can't do what you want here. The US trainers can do what they want, because they are at Santa Anita, Aqueduct or some other base, then they bring their horses here late. We have had 2 inspectors with our vet who walked round every 5 minutes. We couldn't even wash his eye. They wanted to see what it was we were going to use & stopped us from doing it. All sorts of crap. It probably didn't affect the horse, but it affected us. It didn't make it pleasant." However Makin added: "I wouldn't regret it. I would do it every time. Dick Mandella (leading US trainer) told me that when they start to get tired, that's when they can't handle the dirt. He's a long-striding, explosive type of horse. The dirt is really for more grinding types of horses who keep going in a certain rhythm. We might run him in the Cigar Mile or could leave him here with Christophe Clement. I think he probably doesn't stay a mile & a quarter, that plus the dirt issue. We'll have to regroup now."

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