Stratum punt goes astray but Irish will look for revenge in £1m Ebor
Stratum is the one who will make the headlines. The ante-post punt, sneaked into the race on Thursday, the across-the-card double hope for owner Tony Bloom after Flaming Spear's success at Goodwood, the main Irish raider, all extinguished with a pinch on the far rail at York.
Yet there was reason for Irish cheer after the Ebor. Stratum was shaping up quite nicely, he might well have placed, but Sea The Lion and Mustajeer did get placed, and their connections are aiming to come back next year, to go for twice the money.
The Willie Mullins-trained Stratum started a well-backed 3-1 favourite and was going well enough in the straight, towards the rail, but the gap just wouldn't come for Robert Winston and the duo were badly hampered a furlong and a half out. They coasted home after, finishing 12th of the 21 runners.
Meanwhile Jarlath Fahey, who like Mullins is better known for his jumpers, watched Sea The Lion finish third for nearly £50,000. His charge is an unheralded seven-year-old, from Sea The Stars' first crop, but he has run only 14 times, winning six of them.
His trainer said: "We're thrilled. When you hit the places at a meeting like this it's unbelievable. He's a very good horse and runs his heart out.
"The way he's rated now it's going to be difficult to get races for him. He needs quick ground and if the weather breaks we might not have anything for him for a while. But we'll be hoping to come back next year and try to win the million-pound Ebor."
Those not already watching with head in hands after Stratum was chopped off might have caught sight of Mustajeer, who gave them a start from York to Tadcaster but came through as the dust cleared after the carnage on the far side and would have got third in another stride or two.
Owner David Spratt said: "We're delighted with him. We wanted to start with the Ebor but we had to get him up a bit in the weights. This was always the plan though."
He said of how the race panned out: "We held him up as it's his first run at the trip and we wanted to make sure he'd see it out, but he's rattled home and run right through the line.
"We'll be coming back here next year for the £1 million race, with any luck. I'll have to speak to the trainer [Ger Lyons] before we form any short-term plan."
On top of all that, Stratum's stablemate Whiskey Sour finished sixth. It might not have been Ireland's day, but when they are racing for seven figures next year there could be a few raiders with a score to settle.
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