By Ric Chapman
In what can only be described as a major industry surprise, Paul Makin, the colorful bookmaker who owns and races current group ! Cox Plate favorite Starcraft (Soviet Star -- Flying Foozie), has been revealed as the person who secretly paid $1.5 million (U.S.$1.1 million) for champion Australian racemare Private Steer (Danehill Dancer -- Lisheenowen).
Makin's Starcarft, the two-time group ! winner of $2,167,300 (U.S.$1.58 million) had been dueling with Private Steer for the best part of the past 10 weeks on three counts: 1) Who would be Cox Plate favorite on Oct 30; 2) Who would leading rider Glen Boss ride in the race (he rides both horses regularly); and 3) Who is in fact Australia's best galloper?
Last night Makin's vet announced Private Steer would heal from her fracture just above her hock, which has forced her out of the big race, but the new owner was undecisive as to whether 5-year-old Private Steer would race again. She has already earned a place in history with three group I wins in Australia and over $3.4million (U.S.$2.5 million) in stakes.