Star Thoroughbreds is overdue for a change of luck on Epsom Handicap day after a couple of heartbreaking near misses in the major races two years ago.
Denise Martin still vividly recalls cheering home Fiesta in the 2018 Flight Stakes, only for Oohood to come from the clouds and deny her by a half-head.
A race later, Star Thoroughbred’s Epsom hope D’Argento hit the front in the famous Randwick mile before grand campaigner Hartnell emerged from the pack and nosed him out of victory.
“We had two Group One seconds and could have easily gone home with two Group One wins,” Martin said.
“Both were just a bob of the head.”
Joviality will carry the hopes of the syndication company in the Group One Flight Stakes (1600m) on Saturday and is the fresh filly on the scene.
She has earned her place in the elite field with a trio of midweek wins and while connections expect her to blossom in the autumn, Martin says she deserves a shot at Sydney’s best fillies.
“She is here now and racing so well and the form around her with the older mares is really good, a couple of them won on Wednesday,” Martin said.
“It’s a big ask but Chris (Waller) is happy with the filly and she deserves an opportunity.”
Martin regards the two top horses in betting, Hungry Heart and Dame Giselle, as the fillies to beat but says Joviality can feature in the finish provided she relaxes.
She is also hoping the three-year-old can spearhead the latest batch of high-class horses for Star Thoroughbreds with the retirement this year of their class mares Invincibella and Noire and stallion D’Argento.
“When you have horses that were competing at Group One level as they were, and they move on, you’re looking for the new generation to hopefully get to that level,” Martin said.
“This filly seems particularly progressive so we would hope, especially in the autumn, that she might be going in some of the races Foxplay did and Fiesta did, and hopefully she can be the new kid on the block.”
Kubrick, who has returned to racing as a gelding this campaign, will also represent Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds in the opening race and she is looking for him to step up after two conditioning runs.