Stratum gets another shot at translating his high-class flat ability into hurdles success at Galway on Friday.
The Willie Mullins star takes another crack at the €80,000 Guinness Handicap Hurdle in which he was seventh to Great White Shark a year ago.
That a horse who nine months earlier had won the English Cesarewitch off a mark of 101 started at 16-1 for that handicap hurdle tells how many have concluded the Stratum over flights is an inferior version to the one on the level.
He is two from 12 starts over hurdles which theoretically at least looks a meagre return for a horse rated 112 on the flat.
Stratum looked as good as ever when landing the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot last time and Paul Townend has opted for him over three other Mullins hopefuls in the Day 5 festival feature.
That Ascot victory was on soft going but a horse that ran in last November's Melbourne Cup will always relish a faster surface.
Stratum will get quick jumping conditions on Friday which might make a crucial difference to his level of performance over hurdles.
If it does then his 19 opponents will look to face an uphill struggle although the unknown factor in the contest looks to be one of Stratum’s stable companions.
French Made makes her return to action after over two years on the sidelines since her last start at Auteuil in 2019.
Previously a Grade Two winner, she could potentially be well in here off a mark of 135 and Brian Hayes’ presence on her back suggests a level of readiness.
Another Mullins hope, My Sister Sarah, was runner-up in this last year and ran here on Monday when sixth to Coltor on the flat.
Litterale Ci and the slow-starting Lynwood Gold also ran in that and cross codes for this task. Much of the reckoning however will revolve around how Stratum manages the move in disciplines.
Earlier Tony Martin’s Nibiru also switches to hurdles after a fine effort on the flat earlier in the week when runner-up to Merroir.
Nibiru started 40-1 for his first start in January and looked to be going best of all on the turn-in only to understandably falter in the closing stages.
A handful of horses that ran in Wednesday’s Plate are declared for Friday’s conditions chase.
It doesn’t leave much turn-around time but Darasso did best of them in fifth despite being hampered at an early stage of the race.
Ashore Diamond is Patrick Mullins's pick in a hot-looking winners bumper although quick ground could bring her stable companion Dani Barcelona into the picture with Jody Townend's valuable claim.
At Goodwood Mogul has a chance to get his season back on track in the Group Three Glorious Stakes on Friday.
The dual-Group One winner looked set for a lucrative four year old campaign this season but has failed to fire in three starts, including finishing last to Pyledriver in the Coronation Cup.
Ryan Moore teams up with him again in a nine-runner contest where the veteran Euchen Glen has to concede a penalty all round.