“Horses for courses” aptly defined Strada 4yo Settle Strada following an impressive return to the winners’ list in today’s Listed $80,000 Beaufine Stakes 1000m.

It had been almost a year since the David Harrison trained gelding had saluted – that all the way win over 1200m at Belmont last July being so special for so many reasons. Not only had Settle Strada destroyed rivals by 2 ½ lengths that day, but that win had also rounded off a complete domination of Belmont Park over a period of two months, which had seen the gelding reign supreme over the venue with four punishing victories on end.

Returning to Ascot in early January, Settle Strada again led them up over 1100m, but fell short by half a length to an extraordinary first up performance by Tiger Pete. Seemingly on track for another prevalent preparation – the wheels suddenly fell off – two failed runs and an elevated heart rate sending Settle Strada back to the paddock with a question mark hanging precariously over its head.

How quickly we forget the feats of some, but it can be argued that astute punters had legitimate doubt over the prospects of Settle Strada for today’s event. With a majority of wins over 1200m, the first up Beaufine 1000m challenge did little to support the Settle Strada ($8.00) cause, as the money rolled in for the returning Kalahaar ($2.40 fav), and five furlong specialist Right Time ($4.60).

But sometimes a race will run to suit, and when The Entourage ($26.00) refused to allow Right Time to lead as expected, the stage was set for the handy Settle Strada, and hoop Pat Carbery was not about to let such an opportunity pass him by. Sitting fourth – one off the rail, Carbery and Settle Strada took off after The Entourage inside the final furlong – proving too strong over the concluding stages to draw away by 1 ¾ lengths. The Entourage held second, with Acorns ($16.00) a further half-length away in third.

It was the sixth victory from seven Belmont starts for Settle Strada – the winter course specialist undoubtedly on song for further glory this season.  


Chris Blackwell