Brett Bravo produced a training masterclass as star sprinter Striker Light returned to her brilliant best in the Group 1 Temlee (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
A two-time Group 1 winner in early 2017, victorious in the Golden Easter Egg and National Futurity, Striker Light was having only her fifth start and second over ‘500’ since running sixth in the Melbourne Cup on November 24 when she tackled the best sprinters in the land in the Temlee.
But despite a less than ideal preparation, Striker Light turned back the clock twelve months, opening up a massive mid-race lead en route to her third Group 1 victory.
“She’s got extreme speed, but I knew for her to open up a big lead like she did there had to be trouble behind her. Watching the race I was just screaming,” said part-owner George Farrugia.
It was Striker Light’s second appearance in the Temlee after she started $3.90 favourite from box one in 2017, when fifth to Lightning Frank.
With the priceless advantage of the rails alley for the second year running, Striker Light was the $5.30 second elect, with Melbourne Cup victor Aston Dee Bee, one of four Seona Thompson-trained invitees, the $2.70 favourite from box two.
Striker Light was best to begin and she skipped away to what was ultimately a decisive advantage when there was trouble behind her on the first corner, staving off the strong-finishing Queenslander Slick ($9.90), the first reserve, as she scored by .61 of a length in 30.05sec, her 24th win from 45 starts.
The $100,000 winner’s purse took her career prizemoney tally past the $550,000 mark.
“I really want to thank five people,” George Farrugia said.
“Kelly and Brett, who had to scratch her from the Ballarat Cup because of injury and they’ve done an enormous amount of work with her to get her right.
“My Dad, who is here tonight. He got me into the sport. And my Mum, who is at home looking after our brood matrons. Lastly, I want to thank my beautiful partner Cheryl.
“I’m not the trainer but I think we will put her in the Australian Cup next and then have a crack at winning a second Golden Easter Egg. We may retire her after that because I want to take her to Black Magic Opal.”
*This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley. Images by Clint Anderson.