The news that Kiwi sprinter El Roca and the speedy Lord Of The Sky will be final acceptors for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday has the favourite Lumosty still a borderline chance of making the final field.
Connections of El Roca had indicated earlier in the week that the four year old would be a doubtful starter after two lacklustre performances and trainer Robbie Laing was waiting for a weather report and the prospect of a good racing surface will lure him to Doomben with Lord Of The Sky.
Trainer Robert Smerdon said that Lumosty was ready to take on the older horses in the Winter Carnival’s premier sprint and will send the Fastnet Rock filly to Brisbane tonight but if she doesn’t make the final field will run against the fillies and mares in the Group 2 $300,000 Best Security Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) on the same program.
“No point worrying about what you can’t change,” Smerdon told Racing HQ.
“She is good. I have been happy with her all through. No problems. She flies up tonight (Tuesday).”
Smerdon admits that Lumosty will be facing a huge step up in class if she gains a start in the Stradbroke Handicap but with only 50.5kg on her back, has a great chance to be competitive against well performed older horses in the race.
“A big step up. A three year filly against the older horses at this level, a big step up for sure,” Smerdon said.
“You need to be getting weight off of those horses to be competitive with them, that’s what we have got going for us.”
Lumosty has had two runs back from an enforced layoff after surgery to remove bone chips from her fetlock and has shown no ill-affects with runaway wins down the Flemington straight in the $80,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Heat 2 (1100m) on May 9 and in the Listed $120,000 The Straight Six (1200m) on May 23.
Smerdon said the original plan was to head to Brisbane to run in the Dane Ripper Stakes this Saturday as a lead into the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Club Tiara (1400m) at the Gold Coast on June 20 but with the ease with which she won at Flemington forced him to try to gain a run in the $2m Stradbroke Handicap.
“We thought she was going well, we were happy with her and first up we went in there thinking she had a good hope of winning,” Smerdon said.
“But to put them away the way she did. To be fare we were never looking at the Stradbroke.”
“You put a lot of horses in the early noms in these races just in case, she was one of those, but after her first up win we thought we would have to really think about the race and then she repeated it second up so it changed our focus.”
“It didn’t really change much because we were always going to Doomben for a 1350m one way or another.”
“In reality I wasn’t thinking of the Stradbroke at the start of the prep until she did what she did at the races.”
“The race at the Gold Coast this year, that’s where we were always heading and still are.”
Lumosty’s brilliant Flemington form has seen her promoted to the top of market order for the Stradbroke Handicap and is currently the $5 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the Western Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart at $6.
The John O’Shea trained Generalife is next in the betting at $7 ahead of Doomben 10,000 runner up Charlie Boy at $9, Delectation and Knoydart at $10, Srikandi at $11, Sacred Star at $12 and Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winner Boban at $13.