Group 1 winning mare Azkadellia showed that she was on track for her main Brisbane Winter Carnival goal, the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11, with an impressive barrier trial win yesterday.
Azkadellia was among a small group of horses that made up five special barrier trials to test out the newly reconstructed Eagle Farm course proper.
Ridden by prominent Brisbane jockey Michael Cahill, Azkadellia was able to scoot away in the straight to record an easy win over her rivals, pleasing trainer Ciaron Maher.
“She seems on track,” Maher told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“She quickened-up in his hands and he was easy on her over the concluding stages.
“She seems nice and fresh. She’s coming back from the mile but I think this will be her track. This is the race (Stradbroke) that we’re targeting.
“She’s got a lot of residual fitness. She ran in the spring and it’s only a shortish turnaround into the autumn and now she’s up here for the winter.
“Today (Thursday) was just about blowing her out and making sure she’s right to go.”
Azkaldellia was having her first public appearance since winning the Group 1 $1m The Coolmore Legacy Stakes (Queen Of The Turf Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on the second day of ‘The Championships’ on April 9 and Maher is happy with her a this stage of her preparation.
“Azkadellia has been ticking over nicely since her win in the Queen Of The Turf,’’ Maher told The Courier-Mail.
“I think her get-back racing pattern will suit the Stradbroke at Eagle Farm a lot more than she will be suited by the tight track at Doomben for the 10,000.”
Azkadellia is the $4.40 favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au and is also among the first acceptances for the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 28.
Maher is slightly concerned that if Azkadellia wins the Doomben 10000, she could be weighted out of winning the Stradbroke Handicap, but at the moment he is considering running the mare at Doomben.
“I will speak to the handicapper,’’ Maher said.
‘‘She has to win the Doomben 10,000 for that to be a problem.
“I’ve got no doubts the Stradbroke is the better race for her.
“As you saw in the trial, she’s a get-back horse and she will be much better suited at Eagle Farm.
“She is thriving up here. She looks particularly well.”
Azkadellia is also at the top of the market order for the Doomben 10,000 at $3.80.
Early market order for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.40 Azkadellia, $7 Black Heart Bart, $8 Malaguerra, $11 Ghisoni, Delectation, $13 Artlee, Dothraki, $15 Fell Swoop, Music Magnate, $17 Counterattack, Japonisme, Kaepernick, Rageese, Takedown, $19 Sold For Song.