Trainer Anthony Freedman has opted to apply ear muffs and pacifiers to Starcaster for his latest start at Flemington in a bid to get the import to relax better and deliver on his potential.
Starcaster has won one of his six Australian starts and heads into Saturday’s George Watson Handicap (2540m) off a last-start fifth in another staying handicap at Flemington when assistant trainer Sam Freedman said the five-year-old over-raced again.
“He’s a very hard-going horse and does himself no favours in the run and in the preliminaries,” Sam Freedman said.
“We think, or we hope, that we’ve found the key to him putting the ear muffs and pacifiers on this time.
“He’s a stayer with a lot of promise but we’re still learning about him and it may be that he’s still six or 12 months away from being a furnished product in Australia.
“As soon as he learns to switch off he’ll be winning better races than this on Saturday, so it would be no surprise to see him run a very big race.”
Freedman said Starcaster had raced in ear muffs in England.
He has had the ear muffs on pre-race for his past two starts but has not worn them in the race.
“We don’t love putting ear muffs on horses but he’s one of the rare cases that we felt it necessary,” he said.
“He’s done some work in them and seems more relaxed in them at home. You obviously can’t mirror what it’s going to be like in a race but he seems to be a little more calm and relaxed.”