Phanton call: the greatest Melbourne Cup horses
Stratum Star has a group 1 weight-for-age placing and a group 1 win this preparation, but the target for the four-year-old has always been the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Derby day.
Trainer Darren Weir has, in his understated way, simply kept turning up with Stratum Star, which invariably goes out at around the $8 mark and invariably runs a good race. His record of five wins, five seconds and five thirds from 20 starts is testimony to that. And he is set to put icing on the cake with a win in the $1 million group 1 over 2000m on Saturday.
“The horse is absolutely flying and this is the race he was set for,” jockey Craig Williams said. “He is the right type of horse for weight-for-age because he is tough and has a turn of foot.”
Williams has been part of the team to get Stratum Star to the Mackinnon Stakes, taking the reins after the four-year-old was photo-finished into third by Boban and Entirely Platinum in the Memsie Stakes, and the star hoop immediately won a group 1 on him in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Stratum Star was anchored by the 57kg when stablemate Lucky Hussler ran away with the Toorak Handicap but Williams was able to get him into third.
Stratum Star then proved himself at 2000m by winning the David Jones Cup on Caulfield Cup day. Williams had another commitment in that race but he is back on at Flemington. Williams faces a tough task from the outside gate of 14 but it has not stopped punters making Stratum Star favourite.
“The barrier draw is awful and it looks a really tough race but he is the sort of horse that was always going to be competitive at weight-for-age,” Williams said. “It is a test for him but I think he goes into the race at the top of his game and if we get the right run he will be there in the finish.”
The emerging horses head the Mackinnon betting, with Stratum Star a $5 hope with Ladbrokes. The Chris Waller-trained Flamingo Star and proven weight-for-age performers Happy Trails, Pornichet and Contributer are all under the $10 mark in an open market.
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