Rising Hong Kong Star for Stratum
This time last year Stratum gelding Divine Calling was one of the top three year-olds in Australia defeating Cox Plate winner Shamus Award to win the Group II MVRC Stutt Stakes and finishing second to Long John in the Group I MRC Caulfield Guineas.
On Sunday at Sha Tin, he exploded on to the Hong Kong Kong racing scene with a scintillating debut win for the Tony Millard stable that has the dashing grey labelled as one of the brightest prospects to come from Australia in years.
Making his first appearance in Class Two company over 1400 metres, Divine Calling made it look all too easy for Zac Purton when striding clear for a soft length win in a slick 1:20.98 seconds.
“We’ve taken our time,” Millard told South China Morning Post.
“In the beginning, he didn’t show me much and wasn’t doing well and I must thank his owners for believing in me because it wasn’t easy with a high-profile horse.
“By waiting I think I’ve made him better and now anything can happen for him. I haven’t seen one like this from Australia for a long time. He’s run a very fast time.”
A $210,000 Magic Millions purchase for Gai Waterhouse and James Harron Bloodstock from the Baramul Stud draft, Divine Calling has the overall record of four wins and three seconds from 10 starts.
“All I can say is that I’ve never been able to get a horse of this ability out of Australia,” Millard said.
“It’s my own fault. I’ve never gone to buy them because, usually by the time they’re ready to sell there, the horses are tired. They don’t leave much in the tank. We got lucky with this one because Gai Waterhouse owned a share and was prepared to sell.”
Bred by Gerry Harvey, Divine Calling is the best of four winners from Group II winner Rubicall, so is bred to be well above average.