Just over two years ago, Jacksstar suffered a tendon injury when finishing third in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m). For most five-year-old geldings that would have been the end of their career, but not for “Jack”, the recent winner of the Gr.2 City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m).
At the time he was injured he was already the winner of five races including the Gr.3 Manawatu Cup (2200m) and the Listed New Zealand St Leger (2500m), so there was a little bit of money in the kitty and his owners had no hesitation in spending the money on stem cell injections and rehabilitation for their pride and joy.
“It’s been two years since the Auckland Cup, but winning the Cup was worth waiting for,” part-owner Pete Algie said.
“He needed two stem cell injections and about 19 months in the box and we were a wee bit worried it would do his head in, but he’s a tough character, and it was such a thrill to see him win again.”
Algie races the seven-year-old gelding with his wife Chrissie, and good friends Rick and Claire Wilkie. He and Chrissie bred Jacksstar from Star Guest, a Pentire mare originally owned by Algie’s older brother Kevin.
Kevin Algie is no stranger to good horses and raced, amongst others, the Champion gelding Xcellent, and triple Group One winner Wall Street. He purchased Star Guest as a weanling and entrusted him to younger brother Pete to look after on his property on the outskirts of Greytown.
“She had a trial and injured her front leg, and that was the end of her racing career,” Pete said. “Kevin was going to sell her, and as all the family had got attached to her we decided to keep her.”
According to Chrissie Algie, Star Guest is part of the family.
“She grew up with our kids, she was used to having rugby balls kicked in her paddock and her best friend was the pig,” Algie said. “You couldn’t come up the drive without stopping to give her a pat, she was a real character and became a pet.
“We were new to the game, she was our first horse, and being from a predominantly Argentinian family we couldn’t find out a lot about her family and its nicks, so we approached Sam Williams at nearby Little Avondale,” she said.
“Zed (Zabeel stallion) was a bit of an unknown and it was a bit of a punt.”
Star Guest is out of the unraced Star Board mare Mon Espoir and is a half-sister to one winner. Her grand-dam is Champion Argentinian 3YO Filly of 1979-80 Love’s Hope, who was imported to New Zealand in the late 1980’s.
She left Group One winner Indian Hope, who won 10 races in Brazil, and Great Lover won nine races including the Listed QTC Easter Cup (2115m).
“The first foal was Anniestar, she was really tiny, but a pocket rocket,” Algie said. “She was the first horse we ever raced, and she was just beautiful to us, in her head she’s 17 hands high. I don’t think we will ever forget the day she won her first race.”
Anniestar won five races from 1000 to 2100m, including the Listed Fielding Cup (2100m), she also ran second in the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) and fourth in the Gr.3 Metric Mile (1600m), before retiring to the broodmare paddock. Star Guest was mated to Zed again and produced Kingiestar who won three races, and the next mating with Zed produced Jacksstar.
Star Guest then foaled Nadiasstar, a Nadeem filly who went on to win two races for the Algies before being retired to the broodmare paddock. Star Guest then had a year off before she was mated to Per Incanto and produced Star Performance.
A $250,000 yearling he has won one race and was placed fourth this season in the Gr.2 Hawkes Bay Guineas (1400m).
“We have gone into a 50/50 partnership with Little Avondale, in Anniestar and Nadiastar and Star Guest, where they have leased a half of the mares,” Algie said.
“It’s a wonderful arrangement for us and them. It’s been amazing to have the support and knowledge of the team at Little Avondale over the last 10 years, and now we have become firm friends.
“The horses have a habit of multiplying so with Anniestar and Nadiastar going to stud it’s great to be involved with LA, after all they have had 78 years of experience.
Algie said that each foal out of Star Guest has come to mean a lot to her family, but none more than Jacksstar.
“Star Guest is such a special mare to us, every foal out of her that has raced has won, but “Jack” would have to be our star boy. From day one he was a stroppy boy,” she said.
“I lost count of the exercise balls he demolished in his paddock, he would jump on them, and chase them around the paddock, a real character and time waster to watch.
“It has been a fantastic journey for us, so many highs, so many lows and so many emotions. But the passion has not decreased.” - NZTBA