Stratum’s up in class at Navan
STRATUM made a big impression on his hurdling debut at Galway last month and takes the next step up the ladder in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan today.
Having shown smart form on the level for John Gosden, the four-yearold was snapped up for 160,000 guineas by prominent owner Tony Bloom and sent to Willie Mullins.
He made a fine start for his new connections at Ballybrit, jumping well on his way to a facile success and connections are hopeful he can take a step up to Grade Three level in his stride.
Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: ‘He is a horse we got from John Gosden, the same as Nichols Canyon, and he won very nicely the first day in Galway. That was his first run in a good while, so hopefully he’s improved for the run. We’re stepping up in class now, but we think he’ll be well up to it.’
Stratum faces five rivals over two miles and perhaps has most to fear from the Gordon Elliott-trained and Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair of Morgan and Mengli Khan.
Elliott said: ‘I really like Mengli Khan and think he’s a nice horse. Morgan has to give them a bit of weight and it looks a very competitive race.
‘Mengli Khan is such a big horse and as a three-year-old you could see how he would improve. You wondered how he ran as a two-year-old. We like what he’s showing us at home and with luck he’ll run a good race.’
Course and distance winner Jimmy Breekie, Take Five and Classic Theatre are the other runners.
The two Grade Two events on the card are the Lismullen Hurdle and the Fortria Chase.
The latter has attracted six runners, with Elliott saddling both Clarcam and The Game Changer. Alisier D’Irlande, Draycott Place, Fine Rightly and likely outsider The Shepherd King make up the field.
Elliott has three of the five Lismullen Hurdle contenders, Apple’s Jade the hot favourite. Gavin Cromwell’s Jer’s Girl and Noel Meade’s Monksland also go, along with Flaxen Flare and Duca De Thaix.
HOPES: Patrick Mullins likes Stratum