Robb’s Star shines bright in town

Connections with the Brett Robb-trained Gallant Star following his win at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Image – Robb’s Racing.

Dubbo trainer Brett Robb won his fourth metropolitan race and second Highway Handicap in the space of a month when Gallant Star flashed late to win the Class Three Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. 

With Sam Clipperton in the saddle, the four-year-old – owned by David Ringland and former Australian cricketer and popular commentator Kerry O’Keeffe – made it three wins from seven starts. 

Still, he had to work for the win. 

With the early leaders setting a good tempo, Clipperton drifted back from gate 14 and raced in the second half of the field before peeling to the extreme outside on the Randwick straight. 

The Mark Jones-trained Life’s A Party (Jason Collett, $14), which coincidently travelled to Sydney with Robb’s galloper, loomed as the likely winner.

Still, Gallant Star ran home in 34.39 for the last 600m, winning by a length from his Mudgee rival, while in third and three lengths off the winner was the Danielle Seib-trained Sir Ming (Danny Beasley, $14)

“I’ve always thought he was a very good horse, and I always thought he was a horse that could win a Highway, but we had some setbacks early on,’’ Robb said after the race. 

Robb, who won the 2023 Country Championships with Sizzle Minizzle, suggested that Gallant Star will lead his stable’s charge towards their defence in 2024.

“The 1400m won’t be any drama to him, so that will be his Grand Final,” Robb said. 

“He had to do it the hard way; he covered a lot of ground, but it was a very good win.

“I think having the (tie-back) operation did him the world of good because he had time to mature. 

“He’s not the 1000m-1100m horse he was as a two-year-old; he’s going to get a mile, I reckon.”

Clipperton was quick to support Gallant Star’s bid to win the 2024 Country Championships. 

“This horse is a perfect candidate for that race in 2024,’’ Clipperton said after the race.

“Today was D-Day in the sense that we wanted to see him come out and perform well, and he did just that.

“He showed all the key attributes of a horse that can stand a high-pressure race.”

Robb has just over three months to have his gelding right for the Western Racing Association Country Championships qualifier, which will be run and won at Coonamble on Sunday, March 17.

For more on the Country Championships, click here.