Star performance vindicates decision

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The connections of I Am A Star (NZ) (I Am Invincible) haven’t got any reason to question their decision to shelve retirement plans for the 5-year-old. Consideration had been given to the next stage of her career before they agreed to press on.

And at Flemington on Saturday the Matthew Sandblom-owned mare showed she hadn’t lost her zest for racing with a gallant performance to add the G2 Let’s Elope S., to her record. She was asked to dig deep in the straight and responded for the eighth win of her star-studded career.

“That’s an outstanding result,” Mornington trainer Shane Nichols said. “She didn’t come up at all in the autumn and Matthew gave her the time in the paddock.

“She’s reached such great heights and there’ve been some low points.” – Shane Nichols.

“She’s reached such great heights and there’ve been some low points. She didn’t go to stud in the end and now she’s won a Group 2, it’s a great result.”

I Am A Star was a minor player in her first appearances this preparation and Nicholls was confident she would strip much fitter for Saturday’s G2 Let’s Elope S., at Flemington on Saturday. It wasn’t misplaced and, after sitting on the leader’s quarters, she was in for the fight in the straight.

Every question rider Ben Melham asked of her drew a positive response and they wore the front-runner Bella Martini (Stratum) down in the shadows of the post. “I was really happy with her and she had improved off her first two runs,” Nichols said.

“I was really happy with her and she had improved off her first two runs.” – Shane Nichols.

I Am A Star and Ben Melham wins the Group 2 Let's Elope Stakes

“She’ll go to the Stocks S., next Friday. She’s won the Stocks and the Sunline over a mile at Moonee Valley before, she likes it there. She’s not a big mare, but she is tough.”

Melham was full of compliments for I Am A Star, who won the G1 Myer Classic as a 3-year-old. “She jumped well and I knew she had the big weight (58kg) and I was mindful of the wind,” he said.

“It was quite ferocious so it was a good, tough win. They were terrible conditions, but she’s a good horse and did the job well.”

Pedigree Notes

I Am A Star has certainly done her name justice and as a Group 1 winner, four-time Group 2 winner and dual Group 3 winner her broodmare value is immense. She is the third winner for the Dixieland Band (USA) mare Star Band (USA), who is a half-sister to the European stakes winner Common World (USA) (Spinning World {USA}) and Speciale (USA) (War Chant {USA}).

Also featuring in her pedigree is the recently-retired G2 Wakeful S., winner Tiamo Grace (Monaco Consul {NZ}).

I Am A Star pictured as a yearling