A fresh approach by trainer Tony Millard was enough to see Strathmore back in top form at Happy Valley and sent jockey Chad Schofield off to the Melbourne Cup tomorrow on the back of a winning double.
Strathmore had been an impressive winner first-up this season down the Sha Tin straight for Schofield before he was left without any obvious excuse when John Size-trained Amazing Kids thrashed him 13 days later.
"But I think that second run came up a little bit quick for him after winning his first run since May," said Millard.
"Size's horse was flattered by my horse being on the downside. So he's had a freshen-up again and today he's back to form. I know he is a much better horse than we saw last run and he showed it."
Strathmore carried 127 pounds and held off the lightly weighted Accepted and Berlini after having chased a fast pace to the home turn and Millard doesn't believe the neck winning margin told the whole story.
"He carried the weight, he gave a lot of pounds to the ones chasing him and I think he's won with something in hand on the line," he said.
As a four-year-old with a rating now nudging triple figures, Strathmore might be a prospect for a race like the Group One Classic Mile in January but Millard was non-committal: "He's a progressive horse but I'm not sure what sort of distance he might run, we'll take him along and see what happens."
Schofield had opened his winning account in the second race with Southchina Command for Caspar Fownes, his first mount for the leading yard.
"My first ride, a winner, so I hope that will get me more rides. He's quite a simple horse to ride, he doesn't have much speed so you have to drop back and hope there is pace on," Schofield said. "Today he got the pace, we followed the right horses into the race and things couldn't have gone any better for him."
The double gives Schofield eight wins this season to date and a confidence boost heading to Melbourne for the Cup, where he rides Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind for John Sargent.
"I've had a couple of Cup rides and haven't beaten another horse home, but this is the first one I've had that looked like she might have a chance," he said.