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Star Way gets 59th stakeswinner

Anyone looking at the Arion Pedigrees statistics for Star Way last week could have been forgiven for thinking that perhaps these were close to the final figures for New Zealand's senior statesman sire.

Now 26-years-old, Star Way (Star Appeal-New Way) was entitled to rest on the laurels of well over $30 million progeny earnings, two sire premierships and 58 stakeswinners (5.9% of his live foals and 7.8% of his starters). He had produced only one stakeswinner from his latest five crops of racing age (a total of 194 foals), although it was a notable one, dual Group One winner Elevenses.

Then on Saturday at Te Rapa his four-year-old daughter Star Affair (ex The Grin) ran away with the wfa Cambridge JC Travis Stakes G2, soundly defeating Group One winners Critic and, co-incidentally, Elevenses who was retired after the race.

Bred by Southland's famous Dennis Brothers, from their remarkable "The" family, Star Affair had won three of her previous 15 starts, with a defeat earlier this season of Zafar, and placings behind Honor Babe and Bramble Rose to indicate her Group-winning potential.

It's not necessary to venture far into her pedigree to find superior racing class. Her year-younger half-sister, The Jewel (by O'Reilly) won the CJC NZ One Thousand Guineas G1 in November; their dam won two stakes races; and their grand-dam The Dimple won 16 races including three at Group 3 level. Apart from The Grin she's left G1 Irish Chance and G3 The Cheek.

Star Affair's stakes-winning third dam The Pixie was joint Broodmare of the Year in 1981. She left G1 The Twinkle and 1994 NZ Broodmare of the Year The Fantasy, dam of two outstanding Group One winners, 1994 NZ Horse of the Year The Phantom and Cox Plate winner The Phantom Chance.

Star Way's stud record includes 18 Group One winners, four of which (Nimue, Smiling Like, Elevenses and Filante) are out of mares by Sir Tristram who, like Star Way, was a tail-female descendant of Hyperion's dam Selene. Star Affair offers another piece of evidence for a genetic affinity between the two stallions: her dam is by Sir Tristram's son Grosvenor.

Based at Windsor Park Stud, Cambridge for his entire stud career, since 1981, Star Way has the distinction of being the senior listing in the 2002 NZTBA Stallion Register, ahead of Straight Strike (to stud 1983) and Centaine (to stud 1985). We look forward to all three "grand old boys" of the New Zealand breeding industry making it to the 2003 volume too.

With thanks to Arion Pedigrees for statistical and pedigree data.

- Susan Archer