It was a sight to behold at Ascot on Saturday when two world-class jockeys were locked together on the line in the LR Starstruck Classic (1600m).
No, Damien Oliver wasn’t involved. The fairytale climax to his career would come later. The Starstruck was a tactical battle between Rusty Dreams (Damian Lane) and Super Smink (Craig Williams)
Lane prevailed on Rusty Dreams for his father Michael who trains in the south-west at Boyanup. It was the Universal Ruler mare’s second strike in black-type for a partnership manager by Canal Enterprises owner-breeder Peter Capararo. She had won the LR Belmont Guineas (1600m) in June.
Rusty Dreams (4m Universal Ruler – She Done Him Wrong by Oratorio) led by at least a length entering the final 50 metres and eventually ran out a nose winner over Super Smink (Super One) who had missed a start from second emergency in the G3 Damien Oliver Gold Rush.
“Super Smink was obviously the one to beat and I had her covered into the straight,” Lane explained. “It was just a matter of waiting and then pinching a break. My mare sprinted really well and was able to hold on in the end.”
Capararo and Michael Lane have been mates for years. “I remember Damian when he was in nappies,” Capararo said. “He had Craig where he wanted and kept him there for as long as possible. In the end, that was the difference.”
Rusty Dreams had been narrowly beaten by Super Smink in the LR Jungle Dawn Classic (1400m) a fortnight ago and they will likely clash again in the G3 La Trice Classic (1800m) on New Year’s Day.
She is one of 10 Stakes winners by Scenic Lodge stallion Universal Ruler and is a younger half-sister to Ascot winner Rusty Spirit (Trade Fair). Their dam She Done Him Wrong (Oratorio) descends from G2 Champion Fillies Stakes winner Mercurial Madam (Is It True).
Universal Ruler (Scenic) has 11 yearlings catalogued for the Perth Magic Millions in February and his first colt to parade from home-base (Lot 179) is closely-related to Saturday’s Ascot winner Secret Attraction (Savabeel).
At this year’s Swan Valley Sale, Universal Ruler had a 100% clearance-rate in Book 1 at an average of $73,000. Top of the dial among his six-figure graduates was the colt from Elegant Blast (Blackfriars). Now named Jet Planes, he was placed in a Lark Hill barrier trial for trainer Mitch Pateman last Monday.