The Stradbroke Handicap Form Guide is essential reading for punters and racing fans ahead of the Group 1 feature race at Doomben Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.
The Brisbane Winter Carnival’s best racehorses have been confirmed in a capacity Stradbroke Handicap field of sixteen and we have analysed every runner in detail, in order to help you find the Stradbroke Handicap winner.
Clearly Innocent is set to start the Stradbroke Handicap as the race favourite, but is sure to face plenty of resistance from the likes of Jungle Edge, Counterattack and Ulmann.
Clearly Innocent has returned to racing in outstanding form this time and while charged with carrying the 57kgs topweight, is the horse to beat in Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap. Clearly taking plenty of benefit from his first-up run for nine at Hawkesbury on April 29th, the Not A Single Doubt gelding successfully defended his crown in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 13th before defeating a number of his Stradbroke rivals with ease via a dominant performance in the Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) a fortnight ago. Hugh Bowman retains the ride on the gelding and he should find a good position off the early pace from a wide barrier.
Veteran sprinter Jungle Edge has found his best ever form this preparation and should have no issue taking up the running in the Stradbroke Handicap from barrier 7. Resuming for a credible fifth in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 4th, the Dubawi gelding placed third in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) before returning to winning form in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) on March 25th. Again finishing third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), Jungle Edge failed to fire in the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) at Warrnambool, but has won the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) and finishing a good second to Clearly Innocent in the Kingsford-Smith Cup since arriving in Brisbane.
Burning Front is another horse who has been outstanding this time in, but he undoubtedly faces his biggest test to date in the Stradbroke Handicap and will need to take improvement into the race if he is a winning chance. Posting five-consecutive race wins through the early stages of his campaign, including both the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) and Listed CS Hayes Memorial Cup (1600m), the Primus gelding ran fourth in the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo on April 1st, but has since won both the Vobis Gold Mile (1600m) and Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m). Clearly at his best over a mile, Burning Front should be right in the finish of this race if he brings his best, but there are several horses who will relish the conditions more.
Counterattack has always been a horse that seemed capable of winning a Group 1 race and is in prime condition to break the drought in the Stradbroke Handicap. There was plenty to like about the horse’s first two runs this season, whereby he received absolutely no luck and finished towards the tail of the field on both occasions. Running a close second in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) on April 15th, the Redoute’s Choice entire stormed home to finish a close second in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) before running on for third in the Kingsford-Smith Cup last time. He may need some early luck from barrier 2, but will be partnered by Opie Bosson for the third-consecutive time in the Stradbroke Handicap.
Group 1 winner Good Project is yet to be seen at the races in 2017, but has trialled well in the lead-up to the Stradbroke Handicap. Winner of the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in Perth in 2015, the Not A Single Doubt entire steadily built to the task through four starts in spring and summer ended his year second behind Scales Of Justice in a defence of his Railway Stakes crown, most notably. It’s tough to see how the horse fits into this field and he may require a run to find his best form.
Hooked has found strong form this season, but is another horse who will need to improve again if he is any chance of walking out the Stradbroke Handicap winner. Second in the Group 3 TAB Rewards Stakes (1400m) first-up on March 4th, the Casino Prince entire failed to match the late pace in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m), but returned to winning form in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) on April 15th. Last seen finishing second behind Burning Front in the RA Lee Stakes, Hooked probably faces too great a task amongst the quality of this Stradbroke Handicap field.
In Her Time
Classy mare In Her Time has been strong and consistent this season, but she faces another step up in class into the Stradbroke Handicap field and will need luck from barrier 17. Winner of both the Group 2 Breeders’ Classic (1200m) and Group 2 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) in February, the daughter of Time Thief has placed fifth in each of the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Doomben 10,000 most recently.
Mackintosh is yet to make an appearance at the races in 2016, but is undefeated first-up and has the class to win the Stradbroke Handicap this year. Resuming in spring for a smart win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m), the Pins gelding placed third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), fifth in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) and fourth in the Railway Stakes, but had clearly had enough by the time he ran thirteenth in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in December. He made need to show some speed early so as to not get lost from the rails draw, but he has the notable advantage of Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle and will carry only 53.5kgs.
Talented local Hopfgarten failed to improve into the Kingsford-Smith Cup and will subsequently find it difficult to finish in the Stradbroke Handicap first three. The Mossman gelding returned to the races for a smart second in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) in late April, but simply failed to produce anything in the final straight of the Kingsford-Smith Cup and finished ninth. He would have been far-more suited to the conditions at Eagle Farm and it is hard to see him running close.
Ulmann appears to have returned to racing in strong and competitive form this time and is not without a chance in the Stradbroke Handicap. Posting a dominant win in the Wangoom Handicap first-up, the Sebring gelding arrived in Brisbane for a credible third in the BRC Sprint and should take plenty of improvement into this race. Luke Nolen has picked up the ride on the gelding and could receive the run of the race from barrier 8.
The third runner for master trainer Darren Weir in the Stradbroke Handicap field, Rageese has failed to make much of an impact this season and surely cannot win Saturday’s feature race. Fourteenth in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) and eleventh in the Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at his two-most recent appearances, the Street Cry entire is drawn wide and will have to make up many lengths to be in the finish of this race.
Kaepernick was blocked for a run when ninth in The Goodwood last time out and will need plenty of luck to reverse his chances from barrier 15 in the Stradbroke Handicap. The Fastnet Rock gelding has produced several competitive performances this time in and flew home to finish third in the Group 3 DC McKay Stakes (1100m) a fortnight prior to The Goodwood. At the time of publication, a jockey is yet to be booked to ride Kaepernick in the Stradbroke.
Talented mare Egyptian Symbol is more than capable of trading blows at the highest level of racing on her day and she has arguably never been faced with a greater chance of a maiden Group 1 win than when she takes her place in the 2017 Stradbroke Handicap field. Returning for a freshen-up after placing second in the Breeders’ Classic in February, the Stratum mare placed fifth in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) on May 6th before running second in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1300m) in Brisbane a fortnight ago. If no emergency runner is called into the Stradbroke Handicap field, Egyptian Symbol will jump from the ideal barrier 7.
Gold Symphony has returned to racing in excellent condition this time and is not without a chance of an upset win in the Stradbroke Handicap, at double-figure odds. A comfortable winner of the Listed National Sprint (1400m) in Canberra on March 5th, the Reward For Effort gelding returned from a freshen-up to finish third in the Luskin Star Stakes on May 13th and has since trialled well. Veteran local Jim Byrne will take the ride on the four-year-old from a central draw.
Derryn is another horse who has found his best form to date in 2017 and is not without a chance of posting his first Group 1 win in the Stradbroke Handicap. Returning to winning form in the Listed Darby Munro (1200m) on March 18th, the Hinchinbrook colt ran eighth in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships before beating a strong field of three-year-olds in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) a week later. Arriving in Brisbane for third in the Doomben 10,000, Derryn perhaps didn’t handle the heavy track when sixth in the Kingsford-Smith Cup and will enjoy a firmer track at Doomben.
The final horse confirmed as a starter in the 2017 Stradbroke Handicap field, Impending has steadily built to the task this time in and should enjoy the slight step up to 1350m into this race, after savaging the line for fourth in the Kingsford-Smith Cup. A smart performer at the class previously, the Lonhro colt ran fourth in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) first-up this year before placing third in each of the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) and Arrowfield Sprint, in what was his only other start prior to the Kingsford-Smith Cup.
Unlucky not to be confirmed as a Stradbroke Handicap starter, The Virginian ran third in the feature race last year and has returned to racing in smart form this time. Trialling well in the lead-up to his 2017 campaign, the Hinchinbrook gelding flew home to win the Listed Chief De Beers Stakes (1050m) first-up, before placing fourth in the Moreton Cup last weekend. Drawn and weighted well, the horse should lay a great account for himself should he gain a start.
Bonny O’Reilly is yet to taste anything but success this time in and is also a chance of winning the Stradbroke Handicap if she gets a run. Comfortably taking out a pair of Sydney minors over 1100m and 1200m upon resuming, the O’reilly mare led from start to finish to win the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1200m) last weekend and should find a good passage to a position on the rails from an inside draw.
Yesterday’s Songs is another runner who probably would have been more suited to racing at Eagle Farm and he faces a big test in the Stradbroke Handicap if he gains a start. Fourth in the Wangoom Handicap second-up, the Henrythenavigator gelding placed second in the Listed Straight Six (1200m) before running fifth in last weekend’s Moreton Cup.
Too Good To Refuse
Too Good To Refuse has produced a number of good results for Eagle Farm trainer Desleigh Forster, but he’s probably too far out of his depth in the Stradbroke Handicap it will take a career-best effort to come close, should he gain a start. The Rothesay entire has received a freshen-up since his last-start eighth in the Listed Tails Stakes (1600m) in April and will jump from a central draw if he starts the Stradbroke Handicap.
Three-year-old Oak Door is a black type winner this year and is more than capable of running a cheeky race in the Stradbroke Handicap, should he gain a start. Winner of the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) most notably in early autumn, the Commands colt resumed for a credible fourth in the Straight Six on May 20th and will carry only 52kgs from an inside draw in the Stradbroke Handicap.