Greg and Jan Minahan of Yass won’t be among crowds at the race that stops a nation on Tuesday, 3 November after retiring their five-year-old mare, Youngstar.
The local favourite won more than $1 million prize money during her career. She placed sixth at the 2018 Melbourne Cup and 20th at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.
However, Greg says Youngstar has gone to a stud in Japan after the owners decided it was time to retire her to breed.
Youngstar was purchased from Bowness Stud in Young for $200,000 in 2016 and was named after her birthplace and Jan’s niece, equestrian ‘star’ Olivia Inglis, who died in 2016, aged 17, in a horse riding accident in the Hunter Valley.
Jan comes from the Inglis family, owners of William Inglis & Son, Australia’s famous bloodstock auctioneers.
For the upcoming horseracing season, she and her husband have turned their attention to Youngstar’s half-sister and four-year-old mare, Funstar.
Funstar is being trained by Chris Waller at Randwick for the Epsom Handicap at Randwick Racecourse on 3 October.
She was purchased from Bowness Stud for $80,000 in 2018 and has already won $902,450.
Funstar placed second in the Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill on 12 September, and came first at the Phar Lap Stakes, Flight Stakes and Tea Rose Stakes during the 2019-2020 season.
However, she will never race in the Melbourne Cup, says Greg.
“She’s not that kind of horse,” he explains.
The couple have their eyes on a few of their other horses for the 3200m Melbourne Cup, just not this year.
A total of 174 horses have nominated for the $8 million 2020 Melbourne Cup, which is 22 more nominations than last year.
The number is surprising given the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, however travel restrictions have reduced the international nominations by nine.
Nevertheless, there were still 30 overseas nominations for the race, including last year’s placegetter, Prince of Arran.
Only 24 horses can run in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse and they will be confirmed on 21 October.
However, Oceanex is one horse that secured a spot early after winning The Andrew Ramsden at Flemington in May.