YEAR: 2007


Trainer Dale Cameron
Dale Cameron left nothing to chance when he sent Gold Star south for the NZ Trotting Oaks. The filly waved goodbye to her Patumahoe home a little over a month ago, destined for Canterbury and pre-arranged board with Terry and Ricky May in Methven. What she had in tow took up more room than Gold Star herself...

"She came with a heck of a lot of feed," Terry said, recalling the day that Gold Star stepped off the float. "There must have been six different brews, all made up ready. I don't think there would be a horse in NZ that's better fed than her; full credit to Dale though," he said. But wait, there was more - Gold Star also came with her own manual. "Dale had written out pages and pages of instructions about her feed and training," May smiled. "And there was another half page on her shoeing. We stuck to the rules with her feed, but the rest of it went pretty much out the window. Dale's very thorough," he laughed.

Having already raced twice in the north, Gold Star's southern sojourn began with a start at Addington early last month where she ran home attractively for sixth behind Trotupastorm. She was then well backed at Methven when finishing second, the renewed interest emanating from her sparkling workout at the same course in the days prior.

And then it was on to last Saturday night's $35,000 Group 3 event sponsored by the NZ Trotters Trust, where Gold Star scored a narrow but impressive victory over Jazmin Alicia to tear away with the race that Cameron had started setting her for months ago. "From the day she qualified," Cameron said, remembering when he first put the plan in place. "It was at Pukekohe at the end of January, she'd had two runs leading into the qualifier and shown a better trotting style and speed each time. Todd MacFarlane drove her for me that day, and when handing him the reins I said I was setting her for the Oaks in Christchurch. When he came back in afterwards he said 'you're on target'."

Gold Star won her qualifying heat that day by five and a half lengths. She carried on the form to win her debut at Manawatu before running seventh at Wanganui - her last start before heading south - but the latter performance didn't faze her trainer. "Manawatu was all about the experience and a trip away, in preparation for Christchurch," Cameron said. "I didn't read too much into the next-up run because it was on grass and only a couple of days later, so in hindsight she hadn't had enough recovery time. Winning the Oaks here at Addington is indeed a great thrill. I've got to give special thanks to my vet John Ewen and physiotherapist Rachael Phillips, because they have both played a big part in this."

Raced by the Jacko Shiu-managed Happy Valley Syndicate and good friend Jack Poppleton, Gold Star has a busy schedule ahead of her...the NRM Sires' Stakes Trotters Championship and PGG Wrightson Great Northern Trotting Derby at Alexandra Park on April 27 and May 4 respectively, the Cambridge Trotting Stakes on May 17, and then a return to Canterbury for the 3yo Harness Ruby at Ashburton.

"She's real tough this filly - as tough as the colts," Cameron said. "And by the time she's five, I reckon she'll be ready for the Inter-Dominions. We have knocked back considerable offers so far. But the fact is the Syndicate bred her themselves, and they'll get as much fun from racing her foals as they are out of racing her."

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 12Apr07

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