After winning two races at Trentham yesterday, jockey Opie Bosson completed a weekend “double-double” with two victories in his first two rides at Ellerslie.
The star rider scored on Louis Luck and Whenharrymetsaddle yesterday, he carried on his winning form this afternoon aboard warm favourites Sword Of Osman and Stratocaster.
A late-finishing eighth in the Gr. 1 Sistema Railway last start, Stratocaster had a far easier assignment against just four opponents in today’s $40,000 Swiss Deli 1200. He was the $1.90 favourite.
After breaking only fairly from the second-to-outside gate, Bosson decided to slide forward at the 900-metre point to stalk the front-running Memories Only.
Stratocaster took over in the straight and quickly put the result beyond doubt, crossing the finish line a length and a half ahead of Yearn and Calligraphy. The 1200 metres were run in 1:10.58 – half a second slower than the three-year-olds in the opening event.
Now a seven-year-old, the injury-plagued Stratocaster is enjoying his most lucrative campaign since his classy three-year-old days. He has won three races and more than $70,000 this season, lifting his overall record to six wins and $144,000 from 23 starts.
“He’s a really happy and sound horse this season,” said David Browne, who trains in partnership with his wife Emma-Lee.
“He did it well today. It was a perfect ride from Opie – they were always going to run the race quite slowly, so he did a great job to put him right up there behind the leader and get him to settle into a nice rhythm again. Sometimes he can get a bit fired up when he’s out in the open, so it was a 10-out-of-10 ride today.
“We’ll more than likely bring him back here for the Concorde in a couple of weeks.”
Run for a stake of $70,000, the Gr. 3 Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap is part of a black-type-stacked Karaka Million programme on January 26.
Runner-up Yearn, who was doing her best work late in today’s race, is likely to line up in the Gr. 2 Westbury Classic on the same day.
Riders in today’s second race wore black armbands to honour the memory of the northern region’s long-time farrier Kevin “KG” Crampton, who died on January 4 after a short illness.