The final field and barrier draw was released for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) this morning (Wednesday) with a capacity field of 16 runners plus one emergency accepting for the $500,000 feature race at Flemington on Saturday.
Darren Weir will saddle Stratum Star in the Australian Guineas; while the three-year-old colt has lost against rivals Wandjina, Petrology, and Kermadec in three of his past four starts there are many things working in his favour, including a favourable draw and drop in weight.
Stratum Star will jump from barrier four on Saturday with Brad Rawiller to ride. The colt will carry the set weight of 56.5kg, which is two kilos less than he carried in the William Hill Plate on February 7 but on par with his weight in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) last time out on February 21. However the winner of the race Wandjina will have a 2.5 kilogram swing, putting him on the same weight as his male rivals.
Stratum Star looked the winner of the CS Hayes Stakes with 300m to go but just died on his run home, allowing Wandjina and Disposition to race past him.
“I thought I had it at the 300 (metres) last start, but when you look at the sectionals it was going to be hard for him to win,” Rawiller told TVN.
“They were going away from me that last little bit, but I did make a long run.
“I just want to give my horse the best run I can to win a Group 1 and the way you can ride him, he can do that.”
Rawiller is confident Stratum Star can figure in the 2015 Australian Guineas thanks to his favourable draw, drop in weights, and step up in distance. The jockey notes that jumping from gate four will be “perfect” as it will allow the colt to position right on the tempo.
The race will also mark a return to a mile for Stratum Star, a distance he ran second in twice during the spring. He was just a head behind Kermadec in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on November 1 before finishing runner-up to Petrology in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) two weeks later.
Rawiller will also face his brother Nash in the race, who is set to partner favourite Kermadec.
The 2015 Australian Guineas will undoubtedly be an action packed race. Open your Ladbrokes.com.au online betting account to back Stratum Star or one of the other 15 runners to receive up to $250 in a bonus match on your first bet.