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4yo Zoustar filly Climbing Star carried the Qatar Racing silks to top-level glory in a thrilling finish to the 1200m Gr.1 Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday. It was a fantastic weekend for Qatar Racing who also won with Lunar Impact at Santa Anita and Extratwo at Caulfied.

It’s not very often that a horse comes from last to first to win a Gr.1 sprint but that was the case when Climbing Star showed a superb change of speed to win the Robert Sangster. From a trick wide draw, Climbing Star found herself trailing the field in the early stages, racing alongside Coolmore, Westerberg and Kia Ora Stud’s Learning To Fly.

As Learning To Fly took a wide trip around runners, Climbing Star zipped up in inside and hit the front 100m out. She showed the most willing attitude to hold of Learning To Fly, with well-fancied trip Benedetta, I Am Me and Estriella filling the next placings.

Trainer Philip Stokes, celebrating his second win in the race, said:

“That was super. I was watching the race and I thought hang on a second, what happened? We were meant to get her to the outside. No horse had been there (the inside) all day.

"She ran in some Stakes races as a younger horse but wasn't quite ready for them, but she's come into her own.

"She's come of age this campaign. She's just starting to blossom now, and I still don't think we've seen the best of her. She's got a great spring ahead of her."

Stokes also paid tribute to Climbing Star’s young jockey Lachlan Neindorf, for whom it was a first Gr.1 winner.

In an emotional post-race interview, he said: “It was a really good win. She stumbled at the start and I wanted to be a lot closer. Eventually, we got the favours and here we are!”

A possible next step for Zoustar's daughter Climbing Star – though it’s not definite – is the Gr.1 AU$1 million The Goodwood (1200m) on May 11, though no horse has won both races since 2013.

Climbing Star (photo courtesy of Inglis Sales)

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