Strike The Stars has had his training varied in a bid to tap into the form that made him a Group One placegetter as a three-year-old.
Trainer Anthony Cummings, disappointed Strike The Stars could only manage a worse-than-midfield Doncaster Mile finish, ordered a week away from stable life for the horse going into the Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“I thought he was entitled to go better than what he did in the Doncaster,” Cummings said of Strike The Stars’ 12th of 18 behind to Sacred Falls.
“I sent him off to the water walker for a week after that and he’s come back and he seems brighter.
“On top of that he worked quite nicely this morning (Tuesday) so he’ll go into the race in good shape.”
A 2012 Australian Guineas placing at Flemington has been the only bright spot for Strike The Stars since he won the Group Three Gloaming Stakes during the 2011 Sydney spring carnival.
He ran respectable races in last year’s Australian and South Australian Derbys but Cummings has been trying to unlock the four-year-old’s true potential ever since.
“By freshening him up I’m trying to find a way for him to reproduce his best form which he hasn’t showed since his three-year-old year,” Cummings said.
Strike The Stars has 55kg on a 54kg Cup minimum with in-form jockey Blake Shinn booked to ride the gelding for the first time.
Cummings has also entered Strike The Stars for the Chairman’s Handicap at Eagle Farm but he has a preference for the Sydney Listed race.
“I might even pay up for both races to try to get a decent barrier but he’ll more than likely stay in Sydney,” Cummings said.
Not surprisingly, imported stayers trained by Chris Waller dominate the top of the weights for the Cup headed by Permit on 59kg and Beaten Up on 58.5kg.