This Saturday’s Karrakatta Plate was a Group 1 gimme for Hec McLaren in the 1990s. He trained Alabama Whirly, Umah and Bomber Bill to a hat-trick of victories during his heyday as king of the kids in Perth.
McLaren’s former Group 1 mare Sister Patricia turned up with a timely winner at Scone on Tuesday when Stratal logged a narrow victory in the Lonhro Maiden Plate over 1100m.
Stratal (3g Stratum – Sister Patricia by Geiger Counter) is trained by Paul Perry and he is the third winner for the mare this season. Bush Aviator (Stratum) captured the LR Elwick Stakes in February and Brother Patrick (Anabaa) won at Newcastle back in August after prior victory at Randwick.
Perry purchased Stratal for $120,000 at the 2010 Gold Coast Magic Millions. Sister Patricia has visited Stratum for the last four years and her latest is a colt foaled in November.
McLaren owned Sister Patricia in partnership with Perth sporting identity Doug Palmateer. She was a G3 winner of the R J Peters Stakes at Ascot and also finished runner-up to Slavonic in the 1999 G1 Railway Stakes.
McLaren doesn’t have a runner in this year’s Karrakatta but he will saddle up Southern Drawl (Startac) in the LR Melvista Stakes as a final lead-up into the G1 WATC Derby.
The Karrakatta is currently worth $500,000 but it was demoted to a Group 2 the year after Bomber Bill won. The howls of protest could be heard all the way across the Nullabor after the Australian Pattern Committee snubbed Perth’s premier two year-old event.
Bomber Bill justified those claims when he developed into a genuine Group 1 sprinter in Melbourne.
Stratum filly Darlington Abbey is the $3.50 favourite for the 2012 Karrakatta Plate ahead of Miss Solis ($4.00) and Adelaide raider Alezan Thunder ($6.50).