The money is starting to come in for Darren Weir’s young stallion Stratum Star to handle a Group 1 field of rivals second-up this weekend in Melbourne after he made the field as the first emergency for the 2015 Memsie Stakes.
The early scratching of Fawkner from the line-up in Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m), jumping as Caulfield Race 8 at 4:45pm (AEST), paves the way for Weir’s Stratum four-year-old to gain a run in the season’s first elite level.
Memsie Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the weight-for-age classic, is currently led by last year’s beaten favourite Boban ($4.80).
There are then four other single figure fancies in the capacity 16 starter field including Stratum Star who has been backed in from $12 to $9 since being confirmed as a run.
Drawn in barrier nine with Ben Melham in the saddle, the three time winner is second-up after a mid-field finish behind Setinum in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at the track a fortnight ago.
He had a horror barrier 14 of 15 draw there and should be on the improve with a better Memsie Stakes gate and the first-up run.
Third in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington back in March, Stratum Star also ran second in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley to finish off his good autumn campaign and is a definite livewire chance again in good company this weekend.
Weir is hoping for a good run in the Memsie from his galloper, who he hopes can represent the stable in the top Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival events after he lost Trust In A Gust and Signoff to injury this festival season.
Chasing his first Memsie Stakes win, Weir has a hat-trick of hopefuls in the field on Saturday also accepting for Dandino ($51) and Prince Of Penzance ($81) who are drawn at opposite ends of the field in barriers three and 17 respectively.
Weir’s two other runners are both genuine outsiders in Memsie Stakes betting for their first-up runs.
Imported Dansili nine-year-old Dandino, runner-up in the 2013 Caulfield Cup and fifth in that year’s Melbourne Cup, hasn’t raced since September last year.
He missed the autumn due to a leg injury sustained on the eve of the 2014 Caulfield Cup, Saturday his first start since joining Weir’s stable.
“They’ll be miles too sharp for him but as long as he’s hitting the line I’ll be happy,” told AAP speaking of Dandino’s longshot chances on Saturday.
Prince Of Penzance meanwhile has the wide alley to overcome, the six-year-old Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup winner from last Cox Plate Day racing for the first time since his third to Au Revoir in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) last November.
All going well, Weir confirmed he was looking at both the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 26 and the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) for Stratum Star, a Group 1 Caulfield double achieved by Turst In A Gust last spring.
“He’s the best of my three,” Weir said.
“We’ll see how he runs on Saturday but he’s likely to go to the Rupert Clarke and the Toorak.
“If he happened to win then it might cause a re-think and we’d look at the Makybe Diva, but we’ll just get over Saturday first.
“I think he will measure up but I don’t want to be getting too carried away just yet.”
The $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) runs over the Flemington mile on September 12.
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