Startrade started a new racing campaign on home soil at Geraldton last April when he ran just behind Corn Cob in the 1100m handicap.
Fast forward seven months and 10 races later and the gelding finds himself in the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) field for Ascot on Saturday.
Startrade had a successful association under previous trainer Kim Anderson at Geraldton but has risen to another level since his move to Perth.
The first sign for new trainer Dan Morton that he has Ascot carnival potential came after a stunning victory in the Jolly Beggar Stakes (1000m).
It was a pleasant surprise for Morton and went against his judgment after he had intended to use the race as a tune-up before the Hannans Handicap (1400m) at Kalgoorlie.
If Startrade’s improvement caught Morton on the hop, it also far exceeded breeder and co-owner Lesley Allen’s expectations.
Allen, who shares ownership of Startrade with her partner Trevor, had modest ambitions and was happy enough to see if Startrade could win a race in the city.
With that goal sealed, she never in her wildest imagination believed that Startrade would go around one of the largest and most prized plants in the state.
Allen is counting down the days to the Railway Stakes and says winning the $1.5 million race would be beyond her wildest dreams.
“Oh look, it’s a bit of a dream come true to get into the race,” Allen told The Races WA.
“It’s all still sinking in but we’re very excited and it’s amazing that he was at Geraldton at the start of the season, now he’s on the railway.
“It’s a dream come true and I’ve been told to enjoy the ride while I can because you might not get another one.
“It’s pretty amazing and that’s what we’re doing at the moment, taking it all in and enjoying the moment.”
Startrade goes into the Railway Stakes after finishing second to Treasured Star in the G3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m).
The six-year-old finished just ahead of Railway Stakes rival Trix Of The Trade with stablemate Alaskan God sixth.
Startrade currently has a $26 chance with Tabtouch and will be ridden by Chris Nicoll.
Alaskan God holds the $4 favorite with Trix Of The Trade at $6, Alaskan God at $7 and Karli’s Karma at $9.50.
Allen isn’t sure if Startrade is good enough to win the rail stakes, but she’s sure she’ll try her heart out.
“He was a fighter from the start,” Allen said.
“You can never give up.
“Startrade almost died as a yearling and we were close to losing him.
“Maybe they’re paying us back now.
“It’s not about the money by any means, it’s just that we’re in it.
“I know he’s going to try hard.
This afternoon (Tuesday) the draw for the Railway Bet barrier will take place.
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