Trainer Chris Munce believes Sunshine Coast Guineas contender Starkers is a future top-liner.
Talented gelding Starkers has one of the cleverest names in racing and he can join some genuine big names if he wins the Sunshine Coast Guineas.
A $15,000 yearling from the Magic Millions Sales, Starkers is by Love Conquers All out of Nude Model.
While the Fred Best Classic and Queensland Guineas are proven future form races for three-year-olds out of the winter carnival, it is hard to ignore the statistics around the Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
For a Group Three race at the end of the winter carnival it has produced a number of top class horses in recent years.
Of course statistics are distorted by the 2015 Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Winx.
The Guineas began the champion’s winning streak of 33 which included 25 Group One races.
Two other recent Guineas winners, The Bostonian (Doomben 10,000 and Kingsford Smith Cup) and Tivaci (All Aged Stakes), have later won Group One races.
The other two of the past five Guineas winners Hopfgarten and Crack Me Up have won Group Two and Three races.
In all the past five Guineas winners have later won a total of 45 stakes races.
Trainer Chris Munce is nott getting carried away by saying Starkers could be up with those horses but he believes the gelding has a bright future.
“The Sunshine Coast Guineas has really developed into a top class race,” Munce said.
“I’m not going to declare he is going to be up there with the best of them but his form around some pretty good horses is solid.
“He ran second to Gem Song in the Gunsynd Stakes after doing a lot of the hard work up front.
“Many good judges are rating Gem Song a Group One horse of the future.”
At his next start Starkers easily beat older mare Rosie Posie at Ipswich and she scored an impressive win on Ipswich Cup day.
At his most recent start Starkers was seventh in the Queensland Guineas behind Epsom Handicap bound Kolding.
Munce pointed out Starkers run was much better than it looked on paper because he was baulked at the 100m after earlier having to wait for a split to come before the 200m.
“He got beaten three lengths and I am not saying he would have won but he should have been closer at the finish and that gives him a real chance on Saturday,” Munce said.
Munce believes Starkers has a couple of other factors to help him on Saturday.
He is a winner on the tough Sunshine Coast track and with the track likely to be at best soft, he has shown a living for the wet.
“I won’t press on to the Grafton Guineas with him because he has done a good job this winter and I think next season will be his best,” Munce said.
It has been Munce’s best season since he took up training in 2015 with 49 winners overall and $2.7 million prize money.
“The key is to keep getting good young horses and we have some nice yearlings about to turn two,” he said.