Rob Heathcote trained ‘Startantes’ declared a starter in The Archer.

Published 13 April 2023

Rob Heathcote trained ‘Startantes’ declared a starter in The Archer.

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Rockhampton racing’s richest race the $775K The WFA Archer (1300m) has earned its rightful recognition through today’s (Thursday) announcement that GROUP 1 winning mare Startantes will be a starter.

The Rob Heathcote trained 4YO, a winner of $895,000 will represent slot holders Rob and Leonie Carr who combined with the trainer to win the inaugural The Archer worth $440,000 last May.

On that occasion they were represented by the Heathcote trained winner Emerald Kingdom, which was subsequently sold to patrons of the Desleigh Forster stable.

In the topsy turvy merry-go-round of horse racing, Emerald Kingdom will be a rival in The Archer representing slot holder Kev Kenny’s The Bucket List Syndicate.

That in itself will add to the theatre of intrigue as well as the good-hearted rivalry The Archer has created since its inception last May.

The inclusion of Startantes in the field is a giant status uplift for The Archer as Heathcote’s mare, the winner of the GR 1 $700,000 Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) last June, has elevated the race to completely higher level.

While admittedly out of the placings and disappointing in her three subsequent Sydney race starts against top company last summer after that fateful June win, Startantes is a class act.

What better testimony to that description than Startantes stellar effort in last year’s $1.5 million GR 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) when 3.95 lengths fifth of 18 behind Alligator Blood. 

No question whatsoever about Startantes being a starlet is there?

Along with other confirmed starters for The Archer being Soxagon, Emerald Kingdom and Alpine Edge, the Carr’s girl Startantes will contest the $160,000 The Ascot (1000m) at Eagle Farm this Saturday.

All four sprinters will be having their first starts back from a spell.

What a great curtain raiser for Rockhampton’s colossus of a race as it will add to the hype for The Archer to be run at Callaghan Park on Sunday, April 30.

The Ascot at Eagle Farm or for want of a better term “The Mini Archer” will certainly provide a valued insight as to how that foursome will likely perform on Sunday fortnight over the extra 300 metres.

Another mighty plus Heathcote and the Carr’s are well conversant with is that Startantes five wins have been over 1200 metres, 1350 metres and 1400 metres.

However, the ace in their pack of cards which will be played out in The Archer is that under the Weight For Age conditions of the race she will receive a two kilograms allowance being a mare.

This should bring Startantes into the WFA contest with 57kg in against, in the main a pack of male jokers who will carry more weight.

Certainly, no chicanery there whatsoever just good old fashion “racing smart” manoeuvred all within the rules by the slot holders of Startantes.

Bring on The Ascot at 4.38pm Saturday but better still can’t wait for The Archer on Sunday, April 30 at Callaghan Park.

Remember party going racegoers, Monday, May 1 is a public holiday which may just be what is needed.   


Tony McMahon.

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