Darren Weir’s judgment has been vindicated in selecting two horses he hoped could provide him a repeat Group One double at this year’s spring carnival.
A year ago Trust In A Gust landed the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes-Toorak Handicap double and with numbers on his side he this year set Lucky Hussler and Stratum Star for the two races.
Stratum Star secured the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes a fortnight ago while Lucky Hussler added the Toorak Handicap trophy to the cabinet on Saturday.
“We pinpointed these races with these two horses and they’ve both run well in them,” Weir said.
“It’s nice to win both of them.”
Ridden by Glen Boss, Lucky Hussler ($6) overcame an interrupted passage to claim a 1-1/4 length victory from the favourite Disposition ($5) with Stratum Star ($8) a short half-head away third.
Lucky Hussler joined Weir’s stable 12 months ago and has been transformed into a dual Group One winner.
Weir explained Lucky Hussler took time to adapt to the beach training at his Warrnambool base.
“He had a few little quirks early on that worked against us, but now he works with you,” Weir said.
“Being trained on a track all his life, we had to change things around.
“It took a while to get him right, but once he started coming with us his whole attitude changed.”
Lucky Hussler and Stratum Star were both taken to Terang racetrack for their final gallops on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s race.
“These tracks like Terang, Camperdown, they’ve all been a great help,” Weir said.
“You can train at the beach but you need to go to the track as well.”
Lucky Hussler became engaged in a bumping duel on the home turn with Hi World, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, but when clear was able to produce a powerful finish.
Boss entered the race confident as he was meeting the placegetters from the Sir Rupert Clarke on better weight terms following a luckless run when sixth in the Sir Rupert Clarke.
“I had a lapful of horse but Kerrin made it a bit tough for me which he’s entitled to do,” Boss said.
“Once I was able to manoeuvre him out and get balanced he showed amazing acceleration.
“He’s a proper Group One horse.”