Vale Starcraft – One of the Greats
3rd November, 2022
Rosemont Announcement 3/11/22
Rosemont Stud is sad to announce the passing of veteran stallion Starcraft, who died after a short illness on Thursday morning at Rosemont Stud.
Bred in New Zealand by Waikato Stud in 2000, the son of Soviet Star was sold at NZB’s Karaka Yearling Sale for $80,000 to prominent Australian owner Paul Makin and brought to Australia. He would go on to be one of the best horses of the early 2000’s earning fame in both hemispheres with five Group One victories in four different countries.
“It is a sad day for Rosemont with the death of one of our first stallions in Starcraft,” said stud principal Anthony Mithen.
“With the passing of time it is easy to forget what an absolute champion racehorse he was – he won Group One’s in England and France at a time when travelling horses wasn’t as commonplace as it is today. He was a pioneer in that sense and we feel privileged to have been a part of his career. He came to us as a stallion from Arrowfield and helped to establish us in Victoria as a commercial stallion farm and we will be forever grateful to him for that – he is a big part of the Rosemont story. He was an absolute pleasure of a horse to deal with and much loved by everyone on the farm.”
Starcraft began his racing career in Queensland and after winning through his grades he crowned his three-year-old season with his first Group One win, racing older horses at weight-for-age in the Chipping Norton Stakes, followed by a Classic win in the Group One AJC Derby. Returning as a four year old in his native New Zealand he scored a breathtaking win in the Group One Mudgway Stakes, racing successfully through the Spring in New Zealand and Australia before ending his campaign with an excellent third placing in the Group One Cox Plate behind the three year old and now champion New Zealand sire Savabeel.
Following that Makin took the brave step to send him global and he joined the Newmarket stable of legendary trainer Luca Cumani. In September 2005 he became the first New Zealand bred horse ever to win a Group One in Europe with a dominant victory in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp. He cemented himself as the best miler in Europe at his next start, winning the Group One Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Newmarket.
Shortly after those wins a deal was done with Arrowfield Stud and Starcraft commenced his stud career. He would go on to sire 20 stakes winners headlined by Star Witness, winner of the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes and Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes. He forged a strong reputation as a stallion in Hong Kong where he had multiple Top 5 finishes in the Sires premiership through the exploits of horses such as Blizzard, Conte, Winner’s Way and House of Fun.
Arrowfield Stud principal John Messara paid tribute to Starcraft on Thursday.
“Starcraft was a terrific horse. I was only assessing stallions the other day and I came across his Newmarket win in the QEII – he left Dubawi in his wake that day. Dubawi is obviously a champion stallion these days but Starcraft was a better racehorse. We are very proud at Arrowfield to have played our part in his career.
For his contribution to the industry, Starcraft was last year inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame. His legacy will continue to live on through his stallion sons Star Witness & Graff and his grandson Star Turn, not to mention his many daughters who have already begun to build him a growing reputation as a broodmare sire with 11 stakes winners including Group One winner Instant Celebrity and Hong Kong Group One winner Stronger.