Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette could be a surprise Royal Ascot visitor if Darley rule against a start in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
Epaulette is expected to get around the 56kg mark for the Stradbroke when weights are released today after winning the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben last Saturday.
But even if trainer Peter Snowden doesn’t get the call from Darley boss Sheik Mohammed to send Epaulette to England, he would be very reluctant to start the three year old in the Stradbroke with that much weight.
“If Epaulette got 56kg, in my opinion I would have to think twice about running,” Snowden said.
“I would have thought around 54kg was a reasonable weight for a Stradbroke.”
If Snowden was to get the call to send the Commands colt to England for the Royal Ascot Carnival, he would virtually have to leave almost immediately.
“The timing would be a problem, but it’s my opinion and not my call,” Snowden said.
The Group 1 £350,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) on June 18 or the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 22 could be the races Epaulette would target.
And the Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup (6 furlong) at Newmarket on July 13 is also a possibility.
With the Chris Waller trained Rangirangdoo unfortunately having to be put down after smashing his sesamoids in the Doomben 10,000, the Stradbroke weights will be raised 1kg with the topweight of 58kg now going to Buffering.
“Even though it looks a better race than last year, it’s a similar weight scale because Albert The Fat was the highest rated last year at 112 and Buffering is on the same mark at the moment,” Racing Queensland handicapper Nathan Bourke said.
“Sea Siren went to 54kg last year after winning the 10,000, and that’s a fair comparison given both are dual Group 1 winners, so with Epaulette being a colt, 56kg has them on the same mark.”
Epaulette has shot to the top of Stradbroke betting and is now a $4.40 favourite with local three year old Better Than Ready at $6 after another strong finish to end up fifth behind Epaulette in the Doomben 10,000, coming from midfield.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering has been listed at $8 after another Group1 placing when third in the Doomben 10,000 with last Saturday’s favourite Your Song drifting out to $8.50 after failing to repeat his stunning BTC Cup victory and faded in the straight to finish sixth.