The 2014 Stradbroke Handicap nominations have been released; with 100 horses still a chance to contest the Group 1 event at Eagle Farm on June 7.
A locally-trained sprinter has not won the Stradbroke Handicap since Barry Baldwin-trained La Montagna took out the 2006 edition of the race in impressive fashion, but there is set to be a number of talented Queensland-based sprinters in the field for this year’s race.
Buffering scored three Group 1 victories at the end of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but is yet to record a win at the highest level of racing in Queensland.
The Mossman gelding finished fourth behind Sincero in the 2011 Stradbroke Handicap and has finished second in the past two editions of the race; denied by Mid Summer Music in 2012 and Linton in 2013.
Another Queensland-trained Group 1 winner that has been included in the Stradbroke Handicap nominations is Spirit Of Boom, who broke through for his maiden win at the highest level of racing in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) during the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing.
Spirit Of Boom returned to Queensland racing with a narrow second place finish behind stablemate Temple Of Boom, who has also been included in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap nominations, in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday and the son of Sequalo has performed well in the past two editions of the Stradbroke Handicap.
Leading New South Wales trainer Chris Waller has never won the Stradbroke Handicap, but could have a healthy representation in the 2014 edition of the race after included ten horses in the nominations for the race.
Headlining the Waller-trained charge is the classy duo of Catkins and Red Tracer, who both performed well during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but was upset by Diamond Drille in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Red Tracer has never contested the Stradbroke Handicap, but has performed well in both the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) in his two previous tilts in Brisbane.
Waller also has Arinosa, Coup Ay Tee, Masthead, Rugged Cross, Said Com, Tougher Than Ever, Velrosso and You’ll Never in the Stradbroke Handicap nominations.
The Darley operation always brings a healthy team to Brisbane for the winter and they have included five talented sprinters in the Stradbroke Handicap entries.
Knoydart has performed well during his autumn preparation, finishing third in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), and could be joined in the $1.3 million race by stablemates Agadir, Emblems, Miniature and Sidestep.
Other talented gallopers that have been included in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap nominations include classy mare Commanding Jewel, Robert Sangster Stakes winner Driefontein, Darren Weir-trained Platelet, three-year-old Olympic Anthem, Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane and veteran gelding Solzhenitsyn.