By Ray Hickson
It’s fair to say in-form mare Noire probably won’t reach the heights of the likes of Foxplay but the slowly maturing galloper is making a good fist of repaying her owners’ patience.
There are plenty of similarities to Foxplay - Noire is four-year-old a mare by Foxwedge and carries the Star Thoroughbreds colours.
What stands them apart is their class and while Noire would edge past Foxplay in number of wins with victory in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday she’s a fair way off being a Group 1 performer.
“She had shown form early in her career but she was immature as a three-year-old and needed the time to develop and mature,’’ Star’s Denise Martin said.
Noire runs down Pecans to win at Warwick Farm - December 23
“Even now as a four-year-old she's not a robust individual but she's strong enough to sustain a preparation. And she's clearly racing in career best form.
“She seems like a stakes class mare in waiting. Where that is and when we're not sure but she's progressing well.’’
Noire is the $1.90 favourite with TAB to extend her winning sequence to four.
It’s hard to ignore the fact she ran down subsequent Group 3 winner Pecans to win last start, adding plenty of depth to her form.
“She was very strong in the win at Warwick Farm, she's determined and a genuine mare so there's no reason to suggest there aren't more wins in store,’’ Martin said.
Five of trainer Chris Waller’s eight acceptors at Randwick carry the Star colours and Martin is hoping Cellarman can continue his form resurgence.
The gelding has won three of his last five starts and is $2.30 favourite to take out the Youth Insearch Inspire Mile (1600m) where Blake Shinn will be out to keep his unbeaten record on Cellarman intact.
“He won a stakes race in Queensland as a late two-year-old and that's an indication a horse has some ability,’’ Martin said.
“It can be difficult for them to progress to the next level and he took time.
“He's loving his racing and enjoys being ridden off the pace and is finding the line very well. Blake has formed a great association with him.’’
Punters Intel data highlights Cellarman’s mood at present with his last 200m of the mile event at Warwick Farm last start run in 10.99 and he reeled off a sizzling 33.29 for his last 600m.
Fortensky and Gretna both resume in the #Theraces Sprint (1200m), the former described by Martin as “Mr Consistency” while the latter is out to regain form and delay possible retirement to stud.
Smart three-year-old Calculated is engaged in the ATC Owner Benefit Card Handicap (1400m) but a decision on whether he starts will depend on where he stands in the prizemoney order for the Magic Millions Guineas next weekend.
Martin will again be heading north looking for the next star as the yearling sales get underway and she said it’s great to be able to attend with her colours flying high.
“We've had a really good run in the last few months with flag bearers like Foxplay,’’ she said.
“When you get emerging horses like D'Argento and Seaway and Fiesta, and this mare Noire, there's plenty of upside.
“We still have many horses untried and unraced so there'll be more stars in the group as time goes by.”