Darley trainer Peter Snowden will run Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 despite the colt being asked to carry 56kg.
Snowden had suggested that the three year old might be a non-runner if he was badly treated when weights were released yesterday, saying that it would be huge burden for a three year old to carry that weight.
“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.”
But Snowden has accepted the handicapper’s verdict and will give Epaulette his chance to win a third Group 1 feature.
Racing Queensland Handicapper Nathan Bourke said that he could have realistically given the Commands colt a little more, but 56kg was the minimum that would feel comfortable with.
“It could be argued that he should have been given a fraction more and I really don’t think we could have given him anything less,” Bourke said.
“He is a dual Group One winner now and his form is exceptional including a third in the Caulfield Guineas to the two glamour colts,” Bourke said.
“He also ran second to Black Caviar so his form is outstanding.”
Since winning the Group 1 $1m Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill in the Spring last year, Epaulette has raced in the highest of company including a creditable third to high profile colts All Too Hard and Pierro in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 13.
Then at his first run for the Autumn, Epaulette chased home super mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13.
He then ran sixth to All Too Hard in the Group 1 $400,000 Yarraman Park All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27 before producing his best run to win the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben last Saturday.
Snowden had also indicated that if Darley had decided to miss the Stradbroke Handicap, Epaulette could have been a surprise visitor to Royal Ascot in June with the Group 1 £350,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) or the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) suitable races.
Epaulette shot to the head of Stradbroke betting after his Doomben 10,000 win and is currently at $4.40 with three year old rival Better Than Ready at $6 and BTC Cup winner Your Song at $8.50.
The Robert Heathcote trained pair Buffering and Solzhenitsyn are next in the betting at $9 and $12 respectively.