Epaulette’s Stradbroke Handicap task looks tough with horror draw

Epaulette’s tasks of winning the Doomben 10,000 – Stradbroke Handicap double has been made tougher after coming up with the horror gate of twenty-two at today’s barrier draw for the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.


Epaulette has tough task to win Doomben 10,000 - Stradbroke Handicap double. Photo by Daniel Costello.

The Peter Snowden trained Epaulette will jump from one from the outside at seventeen if all five emergencies fail to gain a start with Peter Moody’s import My Quest For Peace set to jump from the outside of the eighteen horse field.

The Commands colt was lumped with 56kg for the Stradbroke, a huge impost for a three year old and will have to break all sorts of weight carrying records if he is win the Winter Carnival sprint double.

“I do think 56kg is a bit hard for a three-year-old in the Stradbroke for me, but the horse doesn’t know that,” Snowden said.

“It is the right race from him, he was very strong at the end of the 1350m last week.”

“He already has a Group 1 win over 1400m in the Golden Rose, so I think the distance will be pretty much exactly right for him.

“The weight isn’t ideal but that is what we have been dealt.”

Local chances three year olds Sizzling and Better Than Ready didn’t fare much better at the barrier draw coming up with gates eighteen and nineteen.

Sizzling has maintained his place at the top of the market order at $4.20 while Better Than Ready has drifted slightly to $7.50

BTC Cup winner Your Song drew eleven and will probably jump from eight and is a $5.00 chance.

The Anthony Cummings’ three year old will also have to set a weight carrying record if he is to win with 54kg and repeat his runaway win in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on May 11.

The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering is still to win at Group 1 level but once again has a great chance to shed the bridesmaid tag coming up with barrier six and has been marked at $8.

From that gate Damian Browne will have no trouble leading or sitting close to the lead while Michael Rodd on stablemate Solzhenitsyn ($15) will be looking to get across into a trailing position from gate thirteen if the emergencies come out.

Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn has been allocated 56kg while Buffering has to carry two kilos more without a Group 1 win beside his name.

“For one individual stable an ideal scenario. We’ve got a front runner and a run-on style of horse,” Heathcote said.

Heathcote was upbeat about the chances of Solzhenitsyn who goes into Saturday’s contest a last start winner in the Group 3 $115,000 Carlton Mid Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) at Doomben on May 18.

“He’s a genuine Group 1 horse and it was only three or four runs ago that he sat three deep at Rosehill and ran Pierro and More Joyous to a couple of lengths,” Heathcote said.

“He certainly has class, he’s a proven Group 1 winner, he drop to 56kgs while that might be a lot of weight for some horses, for him it’s a luxury weight.”

Eagle Farm trainer Kelso Wood will have three Stradbroke runners and as well as Sizzling will saddle up last start Doomben winner Belltone (barrier 3, $15) and Spirit Song (9, $61).

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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