New Zealand’s leading jockey Mark Du Plessis has been booked to ride Most Important in the 2018 Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Du Plessis replaced local hoop Jim Byrne who has been Most Important’s regular rider since December last year but has dumped the Tony Gollan trained five year old to team up with Liam Birchley’s Crack Me Up in the Stradbroke Handicap.
Gollan is unfazed to have a new rider on Most Important and the leading trainer said that Du Plessis will have no trouble riding at the 53kg that the gelding was given by the handicapper.
“He can also ride 53kg without any trouble which is a big plus,” Gollan said.
Most Important ran a mighty race three starts back when second to Impending in the Group 2 $200,000 Hiflow Industries Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 28 before finishing two and a quarter lengths eighth to English tin the Group 1 $700,000 Kirin Doomben 10,000 (1200m) at Doomben on May 12.
Most Important failed to beat a runner home last start when ninth to Impending in the Group 1 $700,000 Altus Traffic Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) at Doomben on May 26 but Gollan is willing to forgive that effort after he had plenty of excuses.
“He seemed to have swallowed a lot of dirt and mud during the race so there was an excuse. This is his grand final on Saturday and he is much better off at the weights,” Gollan said.
The Bjorn Baker trained filly Champagne Cuddles is the pre-post favourite at $4.50 for the Stradbroke Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au while Most Important is one of the outsiders of the field.
Early betting for the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Champagne Cuddles, $5.50 Impending, $$6.50 Care To Think, $7.50 Perast, $8.50 Danon Liberty, $12 Invincible Gem, $14 Osburne Bulls, Santa Anna Lane, $16 Spieth, $18 Peaceful State, $21 Shillelagh, Voodoo Lad, $26 Crack Me Up, $31 Foxplay, Super Cash, The Monstar, $34 Burning Passion, Endless Passion, $41 or better the rest.