Stratum Albion’s owner Tony Bloom rarely gives interviews, leaving to let the stayer do the talking for him in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Bloom’s freakish gambling ability has led him into the billionaire category in a career that started with UK bookmaker Victoria Chandler after he completed a mathematics degree.
The 50-year-old has become one of the world’s biggest football punters. He also plays high-stakes poker for fun, earning himself the nickname ‘The Lizard’ for his cold-blooded style at the table.
Bloom used that nickname to set up his most lucrative venture yet, the gambling hedge fund Starlizard, that places whopping bets running into millions of pounds on football matches around the world.
Bloom’s love for football stretched to him buying and bankrolling his hometown club Brighton and Hove Albion, which has fought bravely against the bigger clubs in the English Premier League.
His love for the club is the reason Stratum Albion will race under that name in Australia.
The name Stratum is protected for life after the Australian version won the Golden Slipper in 2005.
Bloom simply added the name ‘Albion’ to the Willie Mullins-trained stayer’s name to enable him to race in Australia.
But don’t expect Bloom to talk about his betting business or his racing interests.
Bloom reportedly only gives interviews about the Brighton Football Club and only to local journalists. He politely declined, through his representatives, our request for a chat about Stratum Albion.
Stratum Albion during trackwork at Flemington Racecourse in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Scott Barbour/Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Thankfully, Mullins’ representative David Casey was more forthcoming at Werribee.
Stratum Albion will attempt to improve on Mullins’ close second in the 2015 Melbourne Cup with Max Dynamite.
Stratum Albion followed the same lead-up path as Max Dynamite with his second in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup over two miles at his last run in August.
Stratum Albion will go into the Melbourne Cup without a local lead-up run but he has done plenty of work at the Werribee quarantine centre.
“We’ve been delighted with him, very good. He did his last work on Saturday – delighted with him,” Casey said.
“He’s got a decent enough draw so hoping for a bit of luck with him on Tuesday.
“He’s a horse that can get quite stuffy and takes a lot of work but he’s enjoying it out there.”
TAB has Stratum Albion as a $51 chance to win the Melbourne Cup but Casey said the price won’t worry the Irish stable on Tuesday.
“Anthony Van Dyck deserves to be favourite – English Derby winner and he ran so well in the Caulfield Cup,” Casey said.
“The likes of Prince Of Arran, brilliant form here.
“His (Stratum Albion) form doesn’t stand out for a lot of it – mixing with jumping as well.
“We don’t mind being the underdog.”
Those odds just might be enough for Bloom to launch a decent crack on the British bookmakers in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.
Originally published asBloom’s big Melbourne Cup punt
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