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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: January 16, 2023: THERE aren’t many more durable horses around than Hawkesbury five-year-old Titan Star.

The gelding’s victory yesterday at the Cowra Cup meeting held at Orange was his fourth this season (and his sixth overall) at his 25th start since last April.

They have been without a spell and on 11 different tracks at provincial and country centres.

And all credit went to Titan Star ($7), who drew the outside in a field of seven and had no luck in the run before overcoming $1.30 hotpot Rubiwish in the last few strides of the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1000m).

“He’s tough allright and very sound,” trainer Mike Van Gestel said this morning as he watched Titan Star kick his heels up in the paddock at home.

“He is a good doer, and a funny horse in that he looks after himself and doesn’t try any harder than he has to.”

Titan Star’s 63 career starts have yielded earnings of just over $185,000 (including a BOBS bonus), but his six-win record could be so much better with a bit more luck as he has been placed on no less than 19 occasions.

In fact he was placed at both Canberra on December 30 and Orange on January 6 before returning to the winning list yesterday.

Van Gestel and his wife Louisa paid $13,000 “on spec” for the unraced Flying Spur mare Sporty Spur at the Inglis 2017 Australian Broodmare Sale Select Session whilst in foal to Rubick.

Sadly, she died from a colic attack five months after foaling Titan Star.

With the season not yet halfway through, Van Gestel has already equalled last season’s number of five winners, of which Titan Star has provided all but one of them.

Interestingly, the gelding has been ridden in all his successes this season by apprentice jockeys.

Ben Osmond won on Titan Star at Canberra on August 19, Zac Lloyd at Nowra (September 18) and again at Muswellbrook on October 30, and Molly Bourke had the mount yesterday.

“They are all up and coming jockeys and it’s always handy to be able to use their country claims whilst they still have them,” Van Gestel said.

Van Gestel never has many horses in work, but is in for a busier time as he adds a few to his team this week, including his other winner this season No Statement (who scored at Canberra last September for another promising apprentice Anna Roper).

. Titan Star was Hawkesbury’s 90th winner since the current season began on August 1.

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