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Whether a season is a success or failure often depends on expectation.
Which means most punters and even trainer Steven Reid would struggle to give Star Galleria a positive report card for last season.
On raw data that hardly seems fair. Star Galleria finished second to Turn It Up in and Auckland Cup and Cambridge Flying Mile and was a consistent player at the highest level.
But when you have been given that most potent of equine gifts, blazing speed, close enough isn’t good enough.
So Reid is hoping this season, which starts at the workouts next week for Star Galleria, is better. A lot better.
“I suppose it was a good season but it could have been much better,’” admits Reid.
“But what a lot of people forget is that he had an operation for an entrapped epiglottis and that effected him at both ends of the season.
“He had an operation on that after the NZ Cup (seventh) and then it bothered him when he flipped his palate in the Hunter Cup (February) so he did a good job to run second in an Auckland Cup in between.”
The problem is that Star Galleria, while he has won 13 races and $362,171, has a million-dollar reputation and after a ballistic early season victory this time last year huge money offers were being thrown around.
They were turned down and Star Galleria won one more race for the season.
Reid hasn’t given up on the now six-year-old making good on his gifts.
“He has come back stronger, a lot stronger,” he offers.
“And we now know one of the keys to him is keeping him settled in his races because after the operation he has an increased risk of flipping his palate.
“But with his speed and him being stronger I think he can have a better season than last season.”
And Star Galleria has plenty of local targets, with Reid hoping some small fields hold together in the north over the next two months to allow him a home-based preparation for the New Zealand Cup, with Tony Herlihy to retain the drive.
Then he has the Inter Dominion returning to his back door at Alexandra Park on November 29, with doubts over a range of top-end contenders.
“I think he actually thrives on the back up so I am confident he will handle the series, especially being at home.” That is well over $1.5million worth of races for Star Galleria between now and the New Year. And plenty of chances to live up to the hype.