Widden’s Brand Stars In Perth

Stratum Star - photo credit, Western Racepix


Howard Schultz, co-founder of coffee empire, Starbucks, once said that: “Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last”.

Widden Stud’s JT over 2 brand has been around a long time before Schultz ever sipped his first cappuccino, but the philosophy is ageless.

On Saturday, the Widden bred and branded, Stratum Star, won the $1 million Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in an absolute nail biter of a finish to capture Western Australia’s third and final Group One for 2016.

Just seven days earlier, another Widden bred (and raced) performer in Takedown won the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth, giving the sadly departed Stratum a Group One double and taking his tally at the elite level to five.

Stratum had to be euthanised earlier this spring at the start of what would have been his 11th season at Widden: sent to the famous property in 2006 after capturing the Group One Golden Slipper a year earlier.

Golden Slipper winners have a habit of finding their way to Widden and Stratum follows in the hoofsteps of legendary sprinters and sires such as Todman, Vain and Marscay, while 2008 Slipper winner, Sebring, was a barn mate of Stratum’s from 2009 and continues to fly the flag/flaunt the brand for the stud.

“What an amazing week it’s been,” Widden Stud’s Ryan McEvoy, is quick to point out. “We were just getting over all the excitement of Gary Moore’s entertaining display after Takedown won the Winterbottom and now Stratum Star has got the nod in the Kingston Town.

“It didn’t look like he’d overhaul the leader … Scales of Justice is a top racehorse and had won the (Group One) Railway Stakes a fortnight earlier, but Stratum Star just kept hammering away.

“It was great for (trainer) Darren Weir too. Celebrations wise, he might not have been on the same level of the Richter Scale as Gary Moore, but the win would have meant a lot to him, being his first Group One winner in Perth after so much success back east.

“Perth caps off a big couple of years for Widden: apart from Stratum Star and Takedown, Group One winners Dissident (Horse of the Year), Bonaria, Shamal Wind and Hucklebuck were all born and raised on the farm, while Group Two winning colts Star Turn and Seaburge also carry the brand.

“Full marks to Perth racing as well. Their carnival is going ahead in leaps and bounds and with any sort of luck we’ll have a couple of runners over there in 2017.”

Darren Weir was one happy camper after the Kingston Town and fulsome in his praise of the Perth carnival.

“They’ve done a terrific job and it was great to pick up a Group One here,” Weir enthused. “A big thank you to Lindsey Smith who let us use his facilities, including his track where we had half a dozen hit outs which had Stratum Star just right for Saturday.

“Unfortunately for Lindsey we knocked out his horse (Scales of Justice) to win the race.”

Sold at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions for $165,000, Stratum Star had four runs for Rick Hore-Lacy before being switched to Weir in 2014 where he has since compiled six wins, 15 placings and over $1.65 million in stakes.

Stratum Star is a half brother to multiple stakes placed, Serenade, from Purely Spectacular, a sister to New Zealand stakes winner, Raid, and hailing from the family of Emancipation.

Purely Spectacular was sold for $300,000 to Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock at the Gold Coast Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale and subsequently produced a full sister, now a yearling, to Stratum Star.

The Power of Passion