Darren Weir enjoyed back-to-back Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes wins with his up-and-comer Stratum Star overcoming a horror gate to emulate Trust In A Gust with a win in the Caulfield handicap on Underwood Stakes Day.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the Ballarat-based Weir was in the winner’s stall for the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) win with Trust In A Gust (2014) and was more than happy to return this season thanks to a gun effort from the widely-drawn Stratum Star.
The four-year-old Stratum stallion, third in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington as a three-year-old back in March, Stratum Star was third-up in the Sir Rupert and presented very fit and ready to race.
His last start was a brave third to Boban in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) over the same track and distance he saluted over in the Sir Rupert.
In the Memsie he carried 58.5kg with Ben Melham replaced in the saddle today by Craig Williams, the horse relishing a drop back in weights to just 54.5kg today.
“To get him back into handicap conditions was a big plus with 54 (sic) kilos,” Weir said after the win.
“The weight went his way and he was able to present at the right time.”
He had barrier 18, but again proved double digit gates aren’t a hoodoo in the race joining Moment Of Change (15 in 2012) and Rebel Dane (14 in 2013) as Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winners to salute form double digits in the past five years.
It was a devastatingly close Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes result with a three-way photo finish, Stratum Star ($9) getting the moment to dive up the middle and hold off fellow new season four-year-old Disposition ($4), the former WA-trained Reset gelding coming off a black-type win at Flemington.
Disposition was just off the leading few soon after settling and waited for the run, seemingly presenting at the right time and getting the nod of the head before the photo revealed his second place finish.
The victory handed Williams with his fifth winning ride in the classic after his victories aboard Barley A Moment (2005), Rewaaya (2006), Response (2010) and most recently Toorak Toff (2011).
“I thought I had the momentum,” Williams said post-win.
“He got a bit awkward after straightening but this horse has done a great job from barrier 18.”
Finishing off the winning Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes trifecta in an equally close third was the well-supported Robert Smerdon-trained market mover Under The Louvre ($5.50) running his second place in as many starts after a second in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) a fortnight ago.
Stratum Star has now won four of his 18 career starts and Weir said the next logical step was a run in the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) over the mile back at Caulfield on Guineas Day, October 10.
The Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes – Toorak Handicap double is one Trust In A Gust achieved last year and Weir hopes to repeat the feat this spring with his progressive youngster.
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2015 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 8 – 26/09/2015
|1||11||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||–||15||54.5kg||$9|
|2||12||DISPOSITION||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Damien Oliver||0.1L||3||54kg||$4F|
|3||8||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||0.2L||5||55.5kg||$5.50|
|4||5||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||0.6L||14||56kg||$21|
|5||10||CHARMED HARMONY||John Sadler||Ben Melham||1.35L||7||54.5kg||$16|
|6||1||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||1.65L||2||58kg||$14|
|7||13||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||1.75L||4||54kg||$19|
|8||16||ABIDEWITHME (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Patrick Moloney (a)||2.05L||17||52kg||$31|
|9||4||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James Winks||2.35L||12||56kg||$61|
|10||15||GREGERS||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||2.65L||9||53kg||$16|
|11||3||AMORINO||Archie Alexander||Chris Parnham||2.75L||1||56kg||$41|
|12||14||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Glen Colless||2.95L||11||54kg||$51|
|13||2||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||3.35L||8||56.5kg||$18|
|14||17||BULL POINT||Tony McEvoy||Michael Dee (a)||4.85L||6||52kg||$61|
|15||7||RICH ENUFF||Ken Keys||James McDonald||5.6L||18||55.5kg||$12|
|16||9||AMICUS||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||5.8L||13||54.5kg||$15|
|17||18||WE’RE GONNA ROCK||Tony Romeo||Fabian Alesci||6.2L||16||52kg||$151|
|18||19e||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Jye McNeil (a)||7.95L||10||52kg||$31|
|–||21e||YESTERDAY’S SONGS||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||–||0||–||–|
|–||22e||WORTHY CAUSE||John Zielke||Luke Tarrant (a)||–||0||–||–|
|–||6||NINTH LEGION||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||MOONOVERMANHATTAN||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||–||0||–||–|