Strike The Stars failed to fire in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) a fortnight ago but trainer Anthony Cummings is confident that the gelding can return to his best form in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) at the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday.
Strike The Stars started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow victory over Coup Ay Tee and Riva De Lago in the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on October 19 before finishing a strong third behind Smokin’ Joey in the Group 3 Tab.Com.Au Stakes (1400m).
The son of Savabeel was desperately unlucky, after being blocked for a run in the final stages of the race, when finishing eighth behind Boban in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) and was well backed in the lead-up to the Festival Stakes but was unable to make up ground late.
Cummings told TVN that Strike The Stars never had a chance in the Festival Stakes and believes that the five-year-old will be the horse to beat this weekend if he can recapture his form from his Melbourne spring campaign.
“It was leader dominated; everyone went there thinking there would be good speed and there was none,” Cummings said.
“It’s better to assess on what he did before that and I think he runs better at Randwick.
“If he runs up to that form (in Melbourne) he will be right in the finish.”
Strike The Stars has produced a number of impressive performances at Group 1 level but has been able to record a black type victory since she took out the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) during the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival.
He finished second behind Mosheen in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 2 during the 2012 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and finished third in both the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) and Group 1 South Australian Derby (2400m).
Strike The Stars failed to replicate his autumn form during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing outside the placings in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1400m), and his breakthrough win at the start of this campaign was his race victory in over two years.
Strike The Stars is currently on the third line of 2013 Villiers Stakes betting markets at odds of $8.50.