Stylish grey gelding Stratocaster (Mastercraftsman) put his racing career back on track with a dominant performance at Trentham on the weekend.
The six-year-old had looked a horse of real promise when he defeated the subsequent multiple Group One winner Turn Me Loose (Iffraaj), at just his second start at Hastings back in August 2014. He then went on to perform with credit when finishing fourth in the Gr. 2 Hawkes Bay Guineas (1400m) and fifth in the Gr. 1 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Multiple injuries saw the Mastercraftsman gelding restricted to just one subsequent appearance in 2015 before returning to the track last month to recommence his career. Although finishing well back in two starts before Saturday, the signs were there that the Emma-Lee and David Browne trained galloper was ready for a forward showing which he produced in eye-catching fashion on Saturday.
Settled in a handy position against the fence by rider Darryl Bradley, Stratocaster was travelling easily as the field straightened for the run home in the Hiremaster Premier (1400m) rating 85 contest. Bradley eased his charge off the fence as the gaps appeared and they raced to a three-length lead which was comfortably maintained to the finish line in a tidy 1.23.31 for the journey.
Emma-Lee Browne was quick to acknowledge the challenges faced by her charge when questioned after the race.
“I think the ability has always been there, but he’s needed a couple of runs back after having the two years off,” she said.
“He’s had a few injuries. He injured himself in his three-year-old year and we got him back then it all happened again.
“He’s always had stacks of ability, so it was gutting when it all happened. It’s just so rewarding to get him back.”
Stratocaster was bred by Windsor Park Stud and was bought by McVean Racing for $100,000 at the 2013 NZ Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale.
Windsor Park will offer a half-brother to Stratocaster in Book 1 of NZ Bloodstock’s 2018 National Yearling sales at Karaka next month.
The colt is a first-crop son of triple Gr.1 winning European miler Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit) whose first southern hemisphere-bred yearlings will be offered across the sale series.