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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: September 19, 2022: HAWKESBURY trainer Mike Van Gestel describes Titan Star as a warhorse and jovially says he is “just coming good”.

Having his 15th start this preparation, the tough gelding snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at Nowra yesterday to clinch his second win from his last three starts.

Titan Star ($10) jumped well and made the running in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1100m) against his own sex, then gave a good kick on straightening.

However, he was headed by the second and third placegetters in the last 100m.

When talented apprentice Zac Lloyd put the whip away, the gelding found more reserves and stuck his head out to nab Timperley ($6) on the post, with $16 chance Skaifee in third place.

“There was no intention to lead, but Zac did the right thing going with him when he began so well,” Van Gestel said this morning.

“He is jumping a lot better these days since I took blinkers off him in May.

“Grant Buckley rode him in a race and suggested he was waiting for other horses because of the blinkers.”

Titan Star has earned nearly $50,000 (including yesterday’s victory and an earlier success at Canberra last month) in his current campaign, and his trainer sees no reason to stop whilst he is racing so well.

“Titan Star is a real warhorse, and is a good eater,” Van Gestel said. “He takes everything in his stride and is just coming good.

“But obviously I will give him a break once he shows he has had enough.”

Titan Star is one of only three horses – the others being last Saturday’s Newcastle placegetter No Statement and an unraced three-year-old filly Run Chelsea – Van Gestel has in work.

Understandably, he is a special horse to his trainer and wife Louisa and fellow connections including family members and friends.

The Van Gestels purchased Titan Star’s unraced dam, the Flying Spur mare Sporty Spur, whilst in foal to Rubick, for $13,000 at an Inglis broodmare and weanling sale in April 2017.

Sadly, that foal (Titan Star) was her last as she died from a bowel complication in March the following year.

“Titan Star was only a few months old, but we looked after him and didn’t need to find a foster mother,” Van Gestel explained.

Titan Star has won four races and earned nearly $145,000, but his record could be so much better with more luck as he has been placed 16 times (six seconds and 10 thirds).

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