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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IT’S better to seek forgiveness than ask permission!

That was Lucy Keegan-Attard’s response to “keeping mum” about buying a yearling at the Gold Coast in 2020, not telling her co-trainer husband Jason Attard.

“We had just bought our farm at Grose Vale, but all the same we had to start re-stocking our team of horses,” Lucy Keegan-Attard explained.

“Jason reckoned I should have bought a b….handbag instead when the horse arrived, but we now have a city winner with a $20,000 purchase.”

That yearling, who races as Stars And Bars, broke through in town today at Warwick Farm, taking the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m) as a well-supported $3.40 favorite.

It was his third victory and he has also been placed six times, repaying more than six times his purchase price.

Whilst Lucy Keegan-Attard bought the now five-year-old gelding after viewing him online, she did so with the support of a “nice bunch of people”.

“I am a big fan of the sire Starspangledbanner, and the dam Reeltop was bred by Juddmonte Farms and brought out to Australia,” she explained.

“I wasn’t at the Gold Coast, but had eyes on the ground when I bought Stars And Bars at the Magic Millions National sale.

“A close friend Ben Culham, who is a bloodstock consultant with Magic Millions, gave me a good report on the horse and though I had never bought a horse from Fergal Connolly’s draft, he also liked him.

“We have a wonderful group of owners who race Stars AndBars, including my mother in the UK.

“The owners are fantastic and let us do our job, so it was really pleasing to win a city race for them.”

The Attards gave Stars And Bars plenty of time to mature, and didn’t begin racing him until he was a late three-year-old in June 2022.

He won his first two races at Newcastle and Kembla Grange in May and July last year, and also was placed in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick in September.

Stars And Bars came off a Hawkesbury 1000m barrier trial success on April 16, but his trainers weren’t certain if he would handle the heavy ground at Warwick Farm.

“His two wins were on good tracks and he has been placed several times on soft ground,” Lucy Keegan-Attard said.

“The only way to find out if he could handle the heavy was to run him, and thankfully he did.”

Sydney’s champion apprentice Zac Lloyd rode Stars AndBars, continuing a successful run this season for Team Attard.

“Zac’s a little legend,” Jason Attard said. “He won two races in town for us earlier in the season on Luvoir.

“We have a great association with Zac, and his brother and father.”

Stars And Bars was Team Attard’s eighth winner of the season, and Brad Widdup’s victory in the following race with Ausbred Rising Sun took the number prepared by the Hawkesbury training base so far this season to 145.

Story John Curtis, May 8, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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