Last Saturday’s impressive Doomben winner Counterattack has firmed dramatically in the betting for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
The Chris Waller trained Counterattack gained automatic entry into the Stradbroke Handicap with his win in the Group 3 $125,000 Sky Racing Fred Best Classic (1350m).
Winning jockey James McDonald was unable to get closer than three wide after Counterattack jumped from barrier fifteen in the sixteen horse field, but the three year old was a class above the rest and careered away in the straight to record a one and a quarter lengths win over Takedown with Perfect Dare in third place.
“He feels a very good horse and it is great to ride a winner for Mr. Grimish (Counterattack’s owner) in these famous colours,” McDonald said.
“He is a horse that is going places and he will be a good chance in the Stradbroke with his light weight.
“He is tough, he runs it out strongly and he is trained to the minute.
“He travelled well, he came off the bridle at the furlong and I knew that it would take a good horse to run him down and I think that he is.”
“He was strong through the line at the end of 1350 metres and he’s right on track for the Stradbroke.”
“You need a horse with plenty of strength to win that race and he’s exactly the right type especially with the big weight drop in his favour.”
Ladbrokes.com.au reacted strongly to Counterattack’s Fred Best Classic win and shortened up his Stradbroke Handicap odds from $17 to $9 and he is now sharing the third line of betting with BRC Cup winner Malaguerra.
The Ciaron Maher trained Azkadellia remains at the top of the market order at $4.40 with the Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart challenging for favouritism at $5 after winning the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville last Saturday.
Counterattack was placed at Group 1 level during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival when third to stablemate Japonisme in the $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington and his recent Autumn form saw him run a close second to Japonisme again two starts back in the Group 2 $500,000 Arrowfield 3yo Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’ on April 9.
Early market order for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.40 Azkadellia, $5 Black Heart Bart, $9 Counterattack, Malaguerra, $11 Ghisoni, Delectation, Under The Louvre, $13 Dothraki, $15 Fell Swoop, Music Magnate, Takedown, $17 Japonisme, Kaepernick, Rageese, $20 Artlee.