Strike The Stars at his peak for Derby
By Mathew Toogood
SYDNEY, April 13 AAP – Strike The Stars hasn’t won a race so far this campaign but trainer Anthony Cummings is confident the gelding has the right pedigree and grounding to win Saturday’s $1.5 million Australian Derby.
Strike The Stars, winner of the Gloaming Stakes last year, is a seemingly forgotten horse in the 2400m Group One feature for three-year-olds at Randwick but his trainer has certainly not lost any faith.
The son of Savabeel finished second to star filly Mosheen in the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne second-up this campaign before his seventh in the Randwick Guineas and fifth in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Cummings said circumstances had prevented Strike The Stars from being in the finish in his most recent outings.
“All his runs have been good and his trackwork continues to be excellent,” Cummings said.
“He goes to the mile-and-a-half and all he needs is a bit of luck and he’ll make his presence felt.
“Things haven’t fallen into place for him. He’s found himself in lots of awkward spots and asked to do difficult things.
“He’s got ability but like all of them he needs some sort of decent break in the race somewhere.”
Strike The Stars started to make his mark last spring with a third at weight-for-age against older horses in the Chelmsford Stakes before winning the Gloaming Stakes (1800m) against his own age.
He started favourite in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) but could only manage to finish fifth.
Blake Shinn was due to ride the gelding in Saturday’s Derby but a suspension to Shinn prompted Cummings to secure the services of Craig Williams who has won a number of big races around the world in the past 12 months.
Cummings said the Derby had been his main focus all preparation with Strike The Stars.
“We’ve turned up in this race as our grand final. It’s been our main aim all the way through and we’ve got the pedigree and the preparation to get there,” Cummings said.
“I really don’t want to swap my horse, I’m really happy with him and he’ll be strong at the end of the 2400 metres.
“This will be his peak run this preparation.”
Rosehill Guineas winner Laser Hawk is favourite at $3.40 with TAB Sportsbet ahead of NZ Derby winner Silent Achiever at $3.60 and Ocean Park at $5.
Strike The Stars is at $17.
AAP TURF mt/gmHeadline: RACE:Strike The Stars at his peak for Derby
13 Apr 7:07 PM