Stra­tum heads Mullins Ce­sare­witch on­slaught

The Racing Paper - - News - ■ by Sam Jack­son

STRA­TUM is re­ported to be fir­ing on all cylin­ders as he pre­pares to lead a seven-strong team for Wil­lie Mullins into bat­tle in the Dubai £500,000 Ce­sare­witch Stakes at New­mar­ket to­day.

Stra­tum looked more than a step ahead of the hand­i­cap­per when dom­i­nat­ing his ri­vals in the in­au­gu­ral JLT Cup at New­bury in July, a per­for­mance which en­sured he was a hot favourite for the fol­low­ing month’s Ebor at York.

How­ever, he en­coun­tered traf­fic prob­lems up the Knavesmire straight and fin­ished in mid­field with­out emp­ty­ing the tank.

The five-year-old again heads the bet­ting for his lat­est big-race as­sign­ment and Patrick Mullins, as­sis­tant to his fa­ther, is ex­pect­ing him to make his pres­ence felt.

He said: “Stra­tum was very un­lucky in the Ebor. From a poor draw he got no luck in run­ning. He was very im­pres­sive in New­bury the time be­fore that and he’s work­ing as well as he’s ever worked.

“Granted nor­mal luck in run­ning we’d be ex­pect­ing him to bring home some ster­ling.”

Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val hero­ine Li­mini and her sta­ble­mate Law Girl were sep­a­rated by just a head in a valu­able hand­i­cap at Leop­ard­stown on Ir­ish Cham­pi­ons Week­end last month. The Clo­sut­ton army is com­pleted by Uradel, Low Sun, Whiskey Sour and Meri De­vie.

Mullins added: “It was great to see Li­mini pick up a big hand­i­cap af­ter hit­ting the cross­bar twice in Gal­way, but I was slightly dis­ap­pointed that she could only beat Law Girl by a small mar­gin.

“That per­for­mance would sug­gest she doesn’t have much in hand over the hand­i­cap­per, but the ex­tra cou­ple of fur­longs could bring about a bit more im­prove­ment. Law Girl has a nice rac­ing weight with less than 9st and has an each-way chance.”

He went on: “Uradel is in­trigu­ing. He got a fan­tas­tic ride from Aubrey (McMa­hon) to win in Gal­way and a mile and a half on quick ground at Bellew­stown was much too sharp for him last time. Step­ping back up in trip will help him.

“Low Sun ran in the same race as Uradel at Bellew­stown and again the trip and track on fast ground was too sharp. He’s re­ally im­proved over hur­dles and he’s a laid-back horse, which will suit him in a race like this.

“Whiskey Sour has been run­ning well in sim­i­lar races but prob­a­bly isn’t that well hand­i­capped, while Meri De­vie has been hugely dis­ap­point­ing on the Flat.

“Her work at home is far su­pe­rior to what she’s been show­ing on the track and her hur­dles form is far su­pe­rior to her Flat form. It wouldn’t sur­prise me if she ran well.”

Ai­dan O’Brien sad­dles the three-year-old South­ern France in a bid to win the Ce­sare­witch for the first time. The Galileo colt was last seen fin­ish­ing third be­hind sta­ble com­pan­ion Kew Gar­dens in the St Leger at Don­caster.

O’Brien said: “It’s a com­pet­i­tive hand­i­cap for a three-year-old, but he is run­ning off a nice mark.”

Stars Over The Sea won the Ce­sare­witch Trial over course and dis­tance three weeks ago and is one of three run­ners for Ian Wil­liams along with Speedo Boy and Blue Ram­bler.

Wil­liams said: “Stars Over The Sea is an out-and­out gal­loper and it will take a good horse to take him on in the early stages.

“I’m not en­tirely sure that this step up in dis­tance will be ideal for Speedo Boy, but for the prize-money on of­fer it’s worth tak­ing the chance.

“I am very happy with the way Blue Ram­bler comes into this race – he fin­ished sixth in it two years ago and is now 9lb lower in the hand­i­cap, so that gives him a squeak.”

Vis A Vis is a fas­ci­nat­ing con­tender for Neil Mul­hol­land, hav­ing won each of his two starts since ar­riv­ing from France.

Dom­i­nant: Stra­tum rid­den by Robert Win­ston (cen­tre) leads the field home to win The JLT Cup

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