Stratum Star got his nose down at the right time to take out the 2015 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in a thrilling finish at Caulfield this afternoon.
Stratum Star drew towards the outside of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes field, but jockey Craig Williams was able to settle the talented colt in a handy position and he was given every possible opportunity to claim a maiden Group 1 victory
Disposition received a dream run in transit, but it was Under The Louvre that looked like the winner when he emerged from the pack at the 200 metre mark.
However, the consistent sprinter hung out badly when he hit the front and cost himself victory, while Disposition and Stratum Star hit the line at the same time.
It took the judge several minutes to separate the pair in a photo finish, but the race was eventually awarded to Stratum Star, who had previously finished third in both the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
Jockey Craig Williams was always confident that Stratum Star had got his nose down at the right time and the talented hoop took the opportunity to pay credit to the outstanding training performance of Darren Weir.
“He got a bit awkward after straightening, but this horse has done a great job,” Williams said.
“From barrier 18 he rode the speed, relaxed well and I am not winning the race if it wasn’t for the care and attention put in by Darren Weir and his stable.
“Peter Ellis is his form man and went through it last night, dissected it today and I think Pete will be pretty wrapt about that.
“We got the job done.”
Weir won the 2014 edition of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with Trust In A Gust and he indicated at the start of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival that he was hopeful Stratum Star would be able to replicate the effort of his stablemate.
The leading Victorian trainer was thrilled with the way that Stratum Star hit the line in the final stages of the race and he confirmed that the four-year-old will likely press on to the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield in a fortnight.
“It is a great feeling,” Weir said.
“I picked this race out a long time ago and I thought he had a good preparation going to it.
“He got a terrific ride from Craig and if he didn’t get that sort of ride he wouldn’t have won the race.
“His first two runs were good, he loomed up last start to win and just got a bit tired with 50 to go.
“Getting back into handicap conditions was a big plus with the 54 kilos and he looked like he was going to run a battling third, but the weight sort of swung his way and he was able to duck his head at the right time.
“That (the Toorak Handicap) is the logical next step, but it was just nice to get that one out of the road.”
Disposition was unlucky not to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2015 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, while Under The Louvre would have taken out the race if he had run straight in the final stages.