As expected Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette was allotted 56kg for the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 when weights were released today by Racing Queensland handicapper Nathan Bourke.
Now trainer Peter Snowden has to decide whether he will attempt to win the feature Winter Carnival sprint with Epaulette after saying that that 56kg would be too much of a burden for the three year old.
“If Epaulette got 56kg, in my opinion I would have to think twice about running,” Snowden said.
“I would have thought around 54kg was a reasonable weight for a Stradbroke.”
Epaulette scored his second Group 1 win last Saturday at Doomben with an electrifying finish to beat last year’s winner Sea Siren in the $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
And even though the three year olds has performed well throughout the season at weight for age, to front up in a Stradbroke Handicap with 56kg will be a giant test.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering will carry the number one saddle cloth for the second year in a row after being allocated 58kg, the same weigh he carried last year when runner-up to Mid Summer Music.
Buffering, yet to win at the highest level, took his Group 1 placings to eight on the weekend with another gutsy third in the Doomben 10,000.
The Stradbroke weights had to be adjusted prior to their release when potential top weight Rangirangdoo was tragically put down after smashing his sesamoids in the Doomben 10,000, thus pushing the weights up a kilo.
Buffering’s stablemate Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn has been given 56kg and will head into the Stradbroke on the back of an easy win in the Group 3 $115,000 Carlton Mid Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) at Doomben on May 18.
Rain Affair and Sea Siren, both on 56.5kg, won’t be running with Rain Affair going to the spelling paddock and Sea Siren heading to Royal Ascot in England.
While Moment Of Change weighted on 56kg has also been announced a non-runner.
Four year old Manawanui received 55.5kg but is struggling to regain his best form and could only beat three runners home in the Doomben 10,000.
The Kelly Schweida trained Better Than Ready has been weighted on 52.5kg and even though he ran another good race at weight for age for a fifth behind Epaulette at Doomben, he still has a huge task ahead with the last three year old to win the Stradbroke being Sincero in 2011 with 50.5kg.
BTC Cup winner Your Song is on 54kg but failed to repeat his stunning Eagle Farm win when a fading sixth to Epaulette in the Doomben 10,000 after jumping from the outside gate in the fifteen horse field.
Eagle Farm trainer Kelso Wood is looking to have two runners in the Stradbroke with last start Doomben winner Belltone on 53.5kg and three year old Sizzling on 52kg.
Epaulette has shot to the top of Stradbroke betting and is now a $4.80 favourite with local three year old Better Than Ready at $6, Your Song at $7, Buffering at $10 and Arinosa and Academus both at $12..
Stablemates Belltone and Sizzling are both on the $13 line with Solzhenitsyn at $15.