Stradbroke Handicap

Queensland racing expert ‘The Professor’ previews the Sunshine State’s huge Group 1 feature, the time-honoured Stradbroke Handicap… and throws in his quaddie numbers as well.

Track

It’s been fine weather in Brisbane for a long time and the track is currently rated a Good 4. Although there are some showers forecast for Friday and Saturday, it doesn’t look like there will be enough rain for it to be worse than a Good 4 track on the day – absolute worst case would be a Soft 5.

Two weeks ago the fence was on fire with the rail in the true position. It now goes out 2m. After uproar from punters the track manager has said he will “fix the issue”. Since the track reopened there have been 19 races with the rail in a similar position. Of 38 horses who have run 1st or 2nd in those races, 33 of them have been hard fence in running.

I’m not sure this can be fixed in the space of two weeks, and I will be anticipating at least a slight advantage to be on the fence. Importantly, being hard fence in the straight isn’t a requirement – though definitely no disadvantage – with plenty of horses winning after peeling out wide on the turn.

Pace

Expecting a fast-run race here. Despatch from the inside gate will look to hold the lead but likely faces pressure from I’m A Rippa, Home Of The Brave, Dollar For Dollar and Irithea. Deploy and The Bostonian will also be looking to get up on pace. Would be surprised if this is run at anything less than a genuine tempo, and those likely off the speed will be advantaged by the race pace.

Runner-by-runner

1. The Bostonian (A Pike / M Cahill)
Barrier 10, 57kg

Not much needs to be said here. Undefeated in QLD winning his last 2 starts both in Group 1 races. Has had absolute perfect runs in each of those starts and though drawn barrier 10 here with 5 of the emergencies drawn lower barriers will likely jump from barrier 5 and may get the run of the race again. Also gets the second most in form jockey in the state on board. Ticks a lot of boxes.

2. Home Of The Brave (J Cummings / J McDonald)
Barrier 22, 56kg

Was scratched from the Kingsford Smith when drew a wide gate. Won a trial convincingly in between, as you would hope, but drawn a horror gate again and with plenty of speed underneath looks a very good candidate to be trapped wide. Have an opinion of the horse overall but couldn’t be with it after missing the lead up run and drawing the car park.

3. Despatch (T McEvoy / B Vorster)
Barrier 1, 54.5kg

Winner of the Group 1 Goodwood in Adelaide last start, but that was probably one of the weakest Group 1 fields you will ever see and this is in fact a big jump in grade. Does draw barrier 1 and likely leads, but will be under plenty of pressure. Find it hard to see him winning here.

4. Widgee Turf (P Payne / W Egan)
Barrier 16, 54kg

Big jump in grade here, coming from an Open race at Caulfield over a mile. Does have strong ratings over a mile which should hold him in good stead here, and from barrier 16 is likely to get back and be suited by the tempo. Needs to be at his very best and get a lot of luck, but not the worst chance here.

5. Trekking (J Cummings / K McEvoy)
Barrier 13, 54kg

Ran third in the Kingsford Smith when sent around as the $5.50 favourite. Only beaten 0.9 lengths and went to the line strongly, but is another one that received an absolute peach of a run: not only finding the fence but also getting onto the eventual winners back. I was against it in the Kingsford Smith and again I don’t think there is any value in the price here.

6. Dollar For Dollar (T McEvoy / J Kah)
Barrier 19, 54kg

Was one of my bets in the Kingsford Smith after a very good run in the Doomben 10000. Sat outside the lead and was very weak to the line, dropping out to be beaten nine lengths last. Vet check found nothing wrong. Does look hard to back here from barrier 19 – will likely have to work very hard to get across and lead or get trapped wide.


 

7. Endless Drama (A Pike / L Innes)
Barrier 8, 54kg

Another one that got all the favours last start – dragged back to last on the fence in the run, and though held up momentarily in the straight, didn’t cover an inch of extra ground and went to the line strongly to run sixth beaten 1.7 lengths. Does look like can get a good run again here – drawn barrier 8 but likely jumps from 5 or 6 and can settle just off of a hot speed. Hard to be with a horse that had such an advantaged run last start, but may get just as much advantage here.

8. Spright (G Frazer / G Boss)
Barrier 15 , 53.5kg

Comes out of the Group 1 Goodwood in Adelaide won by Despatch when got right back. Was suited by the tempo but went strongly to the line nonetheless. Hasn’t won over further than 1200m and the 1400m at Eagle Farm is testing enough, let alone in a Stradbroke. May get a tempo to suit but I think the current quote is too short.

9. Tom Melbourne (C Waller / C Brown)
Barrier 20, 53.5kg

Poor old Tom has run second in his last three starts, just adding to the legend. Is drawn horribly here and likely goes back – but is still a chance of being caught wide. Recent ratings are well below what I think this race will rate. Don’t have as a genuine winning chance.

10. Man Booker (D Morton / J Bowditch)
Barrier 23, 53.5kg

Another one that I was on in the Kingsford Smith after a good run in the Doomben 10 000. Not disgraced in the Kingsford Smith – didn’t find the fence so can add a few lengths to his performance – but still would have been beaten by the winner. From the car park here is a good chance of being wide again. Hard to see as a winning chance.

11. Viridine (J Cummings / T Clark)
Barrier 11, 53.5kg

Went around a short priced favourite over 1200m in the Group 2 Moreton Cup. The did walk out front but was close enough at the turn for mine and couldn’t reel in the leaders. Never won over 1400m and this will be a genuine 1400m test. On the positive side, is on the quick back up and when the emergencies come out will be a decent draw. Best ratings would likely be competitive but almost all of those runs were over 1000m. Don’t want to be with him.

12. Deploy (G Ryan / B Avdulla)
Barrier 7, 53.5kg

One of the roughies that interests me here. Last start led in the Luskin Star at Scone when first-up, and went too hard in front setting the race up for Trekking to run it down. Conditioning was the only issue in that run and was only beaten one length. Has trialled very nicely since then and gets a plum draw here – likely 4 or 5 after the emergencies come out. Drops 5.5kg in the weights and gets B Avdulla on board. Best ratings have it in the race, and has won twice at Group 2 level so not out of place here. Not wild about the 26 days between runs but would much rather be with it than Trekking at the odds here.

13. Tyzone (A Edmonds / T Berry)
Barrier 12, 53kg

Is racing in career best form. Was an impressive winner over 1350m at Doomben last start in the Group 3 BRC Sprint. Draw will improve when emergencies come out and likely gets the race run to suit. Was only beaten 2.1 lengths by Trekking 2 starts ago at Randwick when was held up badly in the straight and wasn’t tested going to the line. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this horse was in the finish.

14. I’m A Rippa (T Gollan / J Lloyd)
Barrier 17, 53kg

Was beaten 1.9 lengths by Tyzone in the BRC Sprint last start, when led in a race that wasn’t run overly fast. Drawn out wide here and with more pace in the race hard to see being competitive.

15. Princess Posh (K Lees / L Cassidy)
Barrier 3, 52kg

Nearly pulled off a huge upset in the Kingsford Smith last start when only beaten 0.8 lengths, after being sent around at $151. Did have the advantage of finding the fence and getting on the back of the favourite and second favourite, but drawn 3 here so likely finds the fence and the favourite’s back again. Obviously not as big a price here after that run, but if the track plays the same way then no reason can’t be in the finish again.

16. Encryption (J Cummings / C Williams)
Barrier 14, 52kg

Was one of the horses that I liked in the Kingsford Smith but didn’t run up to my expectations, just battling on in the straight. Was off the fence which made it hard to win but doubt would have been in the finish anyway. Draw will improve when emergencies come out but at best jumps from barrier 10 and looks some chance of being caught wide. If gets luck and runs up to his best can be in the finish here, but would need to be a leap of faith to back him.

17. Irithea (B Baker / R Fradd)
Barrier 18, 51kg

Not beaten far in the Kingsford Smith last start when led from barrier 1. Obviously advantaged that day by finding the fence. Drawn out in barrier 18 here and with plenty of pace underneath it will either have to work hard to get to the lead, or get caught wide. Don’t want to be with her.

18. Pretty In Pink (J O’Shea / R Dolan)
Barrier 2, 49.5kg

Won the Moreton Cup narrowly from Brave Song and Winter Bride last start, but looked to get a perfect run in a slowly run race. Drawn to get a nice run again here and carries no weight, but on my ratings needs to run a career best by something in the order of 3-5 lengths to be winning here. Happy to risk it.

Emergencies

19. Tactical Advantage (K Lees, B Avdulla)
Barrier 5, 53kg

Far from disgraced in the Doomben 10 000 when beaten 1.7 lengths into 6th. Wasn’t exactly strong to the line that day however and is up to 1400m here – has never raced over further than 1200m. Does meet the horses that beat him that day significantly better in the weights, gets a nice jockey change with B Avdulla jumping on and from barrier 5 might be able to find a nice spot midfield and on the fence. Even with the query over the distance, I think it’s one of the roughies that might be some value.

20. Streets Of Avalon (S Nichols / Z Spain)
Barrier 9, 52.5kg

Needs a bit to go right to get a run but if he does could find a decent spot in the run if Spain is happy to take a sit. Recent figures over the 1400m at Flemington put him in the ballpark here but hasn’t been able to hold on and win one of those races. This is obviously a much tougher test and hasn’t had a run or trial for seven weeks. Would be surprised if features here.

21. Ringerdingding (C Waller / M Dee)
Barrier 21, 51kg

Was up against it in the Kingsford Smith when was wide with cover throughout and well back. Made up some ground late but given the way the track played most likely just forget he went around. A horse that always seems to get support though I can’t really see why. Needs a lot to go right just to get a run here and from barrier 21 will need even more luck to be in the finish.

22. Redouble (B Baker / TBC)
Barrier 6, 52kg

Was not much more than okay in the Kingsford Smith two starts ago before winning last week over 1350m at Doomben in a listed race. Did have every possible chance that day when went forward to sit outside the lead. If gets a run is drawn to find a nice spot and is no doubt fit having his 3rd run in 3 weeks but would need to improve significantly to win here. Happy to risk it.

23. Siren’s Fury (J Coyle / T Harrison)
Barrier 4, 51kg

Long odds to get a run but if it does I’ve seen worse $151 shots. Will likely find the fence form barrier 4 and if the track plays as it did two weeks ago that could be a big advantage. Did beat Manuel first up this prep and then went into the Sapphire Stakes and All Aged Stakes which have been strong form references – wasn’t competitive in those but far from disgraced. Had excuses last start at Scone. Could be a chance to run a place at big odds.

Race Verdict

As you would expect in a Stradbroke this looks a strong field. I will be looking to take on those horses that were served by the strong track bias at Eagle Farm in the Kingsford Smith – however it appears as though a lot of them are likely to get nice runs again. The Bostonian will likely jump favourite and I have him favourite in my market as he looks likely to get a perfect run for the third straight race. I don’t think there is any value in his current price and would need to drift for me to be on him. I will be looking to play out wider and I think Deploy is the horse that represents some value at the current price. If Tactical Advantage gets a run he is the other horse that I would be interested in playing.

Quaddie

With capacity fields and generally wide open races in the quaddie legs we will look to go wide in most legs to try and give ourselves the best chance of collecting, and hope that one or two of the rougher chances get up for an nice dividend. Definitely not the easiest day to play the quaddie but should be a big pool and if we can jag it will hopefully be a nice dividend.

Race 6: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

Race 7: 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17

Race 8: 1, 4, 7, 12, 13, 15 (19)

Race 9: 3, 5, 7, 12, 15

 

The Professor launched his Queensland Winners service in September 2018, and it’s been nothing short of a remarkable success to date.

Over $9,900 profit at 30% Profit on Turnover speaks volumes to his ability as a tipster.

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