Starcraft Schools Dubawi in Queen Elizabeth II

by Mary Schweitzer
Starcraft, the "Aussie Machine", rolled to an impressive three-quarters of a length victory over Dubawi in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket on Saturday. Christophe Lemaire, a French jockey with no previous riding experience at the British course, gave his better-known counterparts a lesson in tactical riding.

Frankie Dettori, rider of the favorite Dubawi, had been given the instructions to "...follow your pacemaker." Instead of following Blatant, however, Dettori got caught up in a speed duel of sorts between Philip Robinson, rider of Rakti, and Kieren Fallon, who was aboard Mullins Bay. The three horses were out in the middle of the course, wasting valuable ground and energy. Lemaire and Starcraft stuck to the rail, along with Blatant and Sleeping Indian. When Dubawi finally shook loose from his group and made a run at Starcraft, it was too little, too late. Starcraft had plenty left in the tank, and easily held off the Godolphin runner.

Blatant, the pacemaker with odds of at least 100-1, held on for third, with Rakti fourth.

The winner of three group I races in Australia ranging in distances from seven furlongs to 1 1/2 miles, Starcraft was voted champion 3-year-old colt in that country. Enterprising owner Paul Makin, decided to send the 17-hand chestnut to Luca Cumani, in order to take on the best in Europe.

Godolphin is looking forward to again taking on Starcraft, who would need to be supplemented, in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I). They may have to make other plans, however.

Makin told Racing Post, "It's a short life and this is not a dress rehearsal, so he may go for the Classic. I'm only disappointed that Ghostzapper was retired, so Dubawi wouldn't be anything I would be worried about. He goes better on dirt and I would also like to take the Sheikh's money in Dubai in March."