Strike The Stars finished a luckless eighth in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) and trainer Anthony Cummings is confident that the five-year-old is taking the same form into the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Strike The Stars has been in strong form this preparation; winning the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on October 19 before finishing third in the Group 3 Tab.Com.Au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
The Savabeel gelding was blocked for a run in the final stages of the Emirates Stakes and Cummings told Racing Ahead that he believes that Strike The Stars could have finished in the placings if he had found clear running down the famous Flemington straight.
“He was bit unlucky I thought,” Cummings said.
“He just got caught in a few of the wrong spots and he got held up at the top of the straight.
“He may not have won but he would have been second or third if he had a shot at the top of the straight.”
Strike The Stars has not raced since the Emirates Stakes but Cummings has been delighted with his trackwork and believes that the talented yet inconsistent galloper has even improved on his Melbourne form; rating him a good chance to record his first black type race win in over two years.
“He has done quite nice work since he returned from Melbourne,” Cummings said.
“He has had a couple of nice gallops last week and he goes into the race in the same form that he showed in Melbourne, which is pretty good form.”
Strike The Stars has regularly competed at Group level since making his racing debut in 2011 but his impressive win over Doctor Doom and King’s Pact in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1500m) during the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival remains his only black type victory.
The Festival Stakes has drawn a very strong field and Strike The Stars will need to be at his very best to compete with a number of interesting runners.
Proven black type performers Malavio, She’s Clean, Destiny’s Kiss and Monton have all been included in the field and will face progressive Joseph Pride-trained galloper Terravista as well as the undefeated White Sage in the Listed event this weekend.