Aug 22, 2016
A tricky gate looked the major hindrance to Hula Star making her debut at Sale on Thursday, the promising filly striking a strong maiden with her outside draw doing her no favours.
And from it she had to work - jumping fast but taking a while to find the rails and the lead. Once there she did not have it easy either, strongly challenged early in the straight with a rival actually heading her with 300m to go.
But, finding an extra gear, Hula Star again got clear, holding on gamely as others made their late runs.
"She was really tough in the straight," enthused jockey Jye McNeil who was celebrating his first run back from a lengthy injury enforced lay-off, "she fought back strongly."
Describing Hula Star as "a bit of a difficult horse to ride," Jye said that he made sure to have her balanced early, getting her into a good rhythm despite being wide.
"She just has to learn how to relax," he said, something the stable's Reid Balfour agreed with though he is confident that the best is still to come.
"She has definitely got the ability to rise through the grades," he said.
"She had really been pleasing us at home," he added, "and we thought she had the talent to win at debut, it was just a matter of her getting the right run from that gate."
Purchased by Robbie and Peter Ford at the 2014 Magic Millions, Hula Star is a daughter of the globe-trotting multiple Gr.1 winning sprinter/miler Starspangledbanner (pictured) and the two times winning city placed Fasliyev mare Hawaiian Melody.
Last spring producing a full sister to Hula Star, Hawaiian Melody is a half-sister to the grandam of NZ 1000 Guineas heroine Costa Viva from the family of Gr.1 gallopers Tarascon, Al Hareb, Myrtlewood, Amelia, Snowland and Myboycharlie... as well as the Listed winning juvenile The Last Lion (by Choisir, grandsire of Hula Star) who was third in the Gr.2 Gimcrack Stakes at York on the weekend.