The Todd Willan trained Artlee is number forty-six in the order of entry for the Stradbroke Handicap and needs to win the Group 2 $175,000 MIRVAC QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday to gain a start in the $1.5 million sprint.
Artlee headlines the nineteen sprinters nominated for the QTC Cup with several other runners also looking to qualify for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm the following week.
The QTC Cup is the last chance to gain a start in the Stradbroke Handicap for those down in the order of entry and the winner is exempt from the ballot for the Brisbane Winter Carnival’s feature sprint.
But history tells us that no QTC Cup winner has ever gone on to win the Stradbroke Handicap.
One time top Stradbroke Handicap fancy Artlee is currently a $17 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au after running a good race when third to Fell Swoop in the Group 2 $200,000 National Fire Industry Association QLD Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben April 30, was then seventh to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) followed by a third to Snippet’s Land in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) both at Doomben.
Last start Ortensia Stakes winner Kaepernick is in the same predicament at forty-two in the order of entry along with the Chris Waller trained Religify who is further down the Stradbroke Handicap list at number forty-eight.
Religify was heavier backed last start when a close second to Snippets Land in the BRC Sprint after leading.
Melbourne sprinter Charmed Harmony has been nominated for the QTC Cup but trainer John Sadler’s said that the six year old would most likely have a barrier trial on Thursday instead.
“We’ll give him a solid hit-out on Thursday and that will determine whether he runs in the Stradbroke,” Sadler told AAP.
“He lugged out the whole way the other day at Doomben and his two worst runs have been when he’s gone the reverse way.
“Maybe he just doesn’t handle racing that way, so we’ll see what happens in the trial.
“If he doesn’t run in the Stradbroke he can have two or three weeks off in the warmer weather in Queensland and then come back down for the spring.”
Sadler won the 2013 Stradbroke Handicap with the popular grey Linton who scored an upset win at $26 over local hero Buffering ($6.50).
Early market order for the QTC Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Kaepernick, $5.50 Religify, $6 Target In Sight, $7 Artlee, $8 Snippet’s Land, Spill The Beans, $10 Perfect Fit, Sacred Star, Stratum Star, $11 Eloping, $21 Charmed Harmony, Odyssey Moon, Trubia, $26 Miss Cover Girl, $41 Sure And Fast, $51 Liberation, Office Bearer, $61 Steel Zip, $101 Royal Occasion.