Crystal Star _ always a ‘star’

J Scott Former News, Latest News



Oxford owner “Jim” McDonald can thank his late brother Bill McDonald (of Starship fame) for a final tip _ Crystal Star _ only weeks before he died five years ago.

“Bill told me this horse (Crystal Star) was the best of the yearlings he had. He said Crystal Star and Rocket Star, would be real good,” Jim said.

“Thats why I bought Crystal Star at the sales. I was going for Rocket Star first, but when I realised my sister’s grandson was putting his hand up, I wouldn’t bid against them,” he said.
Both were offered by Bill McDonald’s estate and were prepared for the sales by Shelley Caldwell and Nevin Topp.

Rocket Star, a Badlands Hanover gelding from Star Rhapsody (p3, 1:58.4), an In The Pocket half-sister to Lordship’s Falcon and Anvil’s Star, fetched $9000.

Jim (real name Bernard but known by everyone as Jim) secured Crystal Star for $9000.

He has been delighted with her progess under the direction under top horseman Mark Jones.

She was entrusted to Mark at the outset of his training career two years ago.

Crystal Star has been one of many early success stories for Mark in his new dedicated role as a professional trainer-driver.

The daughter of Badlands Hanover is the second foal from Lordship’s Falcon (Falcon Seelster-Venetian Star), the winner of three races and a half-sister to former NZ Cup runnerup Anvil’s Star (1:54.8, 12 wins & $500,000), also the runnerup in both a Victoria and Hunter Cups.

Crystal Star’s grand-dam Venetian Star was an unraced sister to former Auckland Cup runnerup Starship (TT, 1:54.5), 16 wins including an Ashburton Flying Stakes and Kaikoura Cup, for $341,975 in stakes, and a half-sister to Ian Mac (14 WA wins including a West Australian Pacing Cup).

“I’ve got Crystal Star’s dam here now. My nephew Dave McDonald has lent her to me to breed a foal, but unfortunately she didn’t get in foal, so she’s going back to Badlands Hanover in August and hopefully we’ll get a full sister,” Jim said.

Jim’s immediate family were there for Crystal Star’s latest big win in the $25,000 ICE Bloodstock Canterury Regional Country Cups Final at Addington on Easter Saturday, April 3.

“I got my grand-daughter Olivia Jarvis to do the speech as ‘Crystal’, or Joy, as we call her, was looked after by Olivia as a yearling at home at Oxford.”

“Olivia had her in a paddock with a galloper and she used to run round the paddock with her. She could never get past the galloper but she tried to all the time and I think that’s what made her so competitive.”

Jim, who says he’s not doing badly for 80, is full of admiration for Crystal Star’s fighting qualities.

She showed her determination as a late 3YO filly, being race-timed in 1:54.6 (mile) with a gritty 3rd to Joyfuljoy and ImagineMe in the $200,000 Harness Jewels Diamond at Ashburton.

Crystal Star began her 4YO season with a game 3rd to Band On The Run and Mercurio in the $50,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Aged Pace at Kaikoura in November.
After racing solidly, she struck form in January, winning a treble including a hard fought win over last year’s NZ Derby winner Sleepy Tripp in the $30,000 Group 3 Signprint 4YO Championship Pace at Forbury on February 5.

She was game in the feature mares’ races at Addington, chasing home Tact Lizzie in the $80,000 Group One PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders Stakes, won in a 1:57.2 mile rate (2600m) on February 12, then was 3rd to Beaudiene Bad Babe and Trigirl Brigade in the $40,000 Caduceus Club Of Canterbury Premier Mares Championship on February 18.

A luckless 4th in Vi Et Animo’s Invercargill Cup in March followed before he deserved win in the $25,000 Country Cups Championship at Addington. 

She moved up three wide in the open over the last 1100m, then racing tough parked outside Rangataua Ray in the Country Cups Championship.

Crystal Star kept giving to hold Cheviot Cup winner J D Fortune, who tracked her up, by half a head.

She ran the 2600m (stand) in a strong 3:16 (2:01.2 mile rate), the leaders running their last 800m in 57.8s.

By Jeff Scott