Willie Mullins made it back to back victories in the Emirates Cesarewitch Stakes at Newmarket, as Stratum completed an amazing couple of days for jockey Jason Watson.
A field of 30 horses took part in this historic 2 ¼ mile race, the second leg of the Autumn Double.
Another Mullins horse, Great White Shark, had momentarily got loose on the way to the start, but was mercifully, quickly caught and took her chance.
When the stalls opened, it was Rochester House, Stratum and Not So Sleepy who broke best, with Nuits St Georges also prominent.
Settling down, Couer Blimey led from Summer Moon and Seinesational, with Nuits St Georges and Ranch Hand up with the leaders.
Turning into the home straight, with 1 ¼ miles left to run, Couer Blimey led the three year-old Summer Moon, by a couple of lengths, with Ranch Hand third and Nuits St Georges still prominent.#
The leader was joined by Land Of Oz and Not So Sleepy, with five furlongs to run, while Summer Moon remained in the mix.
Not So Sleepy finally passed Couer Blimey, with three furlongs to run, with Summer Moon regaining second, as Party Playboy stayed on, while further back, Stratum and Watson were slowing making ground.
Summer Moon hit the front with two furlongs to race, but Party Playboy and Stratum had not been shaken off.
It was Stratum, to the outside, who had the greatest momentum and went on, with his two rivals closing late on, but not in time.
At the line, Stratum was ½ a length ahead of Party Playboy, with a short head back to Summer Moon, these three clear of Not So Sleepy, Mr Everest, Great Trango and top weight Who Dares Wins.
Stratum had run in last year’s race, when Mullins had been successful with Low Sun.
Mullins said: “We thought this fella might do this last year but it wasn’t to be. He ran well last year but just ran too free.
“We didn’t bring him because of the homework he was doing, but we knew he had to be very fit, it’s a big prize and when I looked back at his defeat last time, I thought he still ran a great race and deserved to come here.
“We took a chance on coming and it paid off.
“It was fantastic to get Jason Watson, I thought he gave him an ice-cool ride. Every time I looked at him he seemed to be taking a pull, which is a great sign in a jockey, and he delivered him at just the right time.
“I thought around two furlongs out that Tony [Martin] was going to win with Mr Everest, which would have been great for him, but it changed in a matter of strides.
“I think he got the start and the position, unlike the other two who would have to have been super horses to win from where they were. They both ran great races given how things panned out.
“He hasn’t had a break for a while, just a series of mini-breaks, so we’ll probably given him some time off now. I don’t know if we have to do anything with him after that, but I’m all ears! We’ll just see how he comes out this.
“This shows that he still has plenty in the tank.”