Four year old Mahisara can cement a place in next week’s Stradbroke Handicap with a win in the Group 2 $175,000 Magic Millions QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Paul Messara trained Mahisara is currently twenty-seven in order of entry for the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm and even with several candidates above being announced non-runners, will still struggle to make the final eighteen.
But a win on Saturday would exempt Mahisara from the Stradbroke ballot and let him leapfrog into the field.
The More Than Ready stallion came up with gate seven and Messara is hoping his change of luck at the barrier draw continues onto the track after finally coming up with a decent gate this Winter Carnival.
Mahisara jumped from gate twelve when fourth of sixteen in the Listed $175,000 Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast on May 4 then had to work hard from gate fourteen when second to Belltone in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben two weeks ago.
“It’s the first time he’s drawn a single digit in a while,” Messara said.
“From that barrier we’re entitled to get a better run this time and we can settle without having to do all the work early and be too strong at the finish.”
“The 1400m is probably his best trip and he worked well during the week. I’m really happy with him am I expect to finish in the first three on Saturday.”
If Mahisara races up to Messara’s expectations and earns a start in the Stradbroke, he is not worried about backing the four year old next week.
“He’s backed up once before in Melbourne and won very well so I’ve got no issue with the back-up as long as he comes through unscathed.”
But the QTC Cup has been a hoodoo race with no winner going on to win the Stradbroke Handicap the following week.
Even the great sprinter Schillaci could only manage to finish sixth behind Rough Habit in the 1992 Stradbroke after winning the QTC Cup and Messara’s recently retired multiple Group 1 winner Ortensia, when trained by Tony Noonan, could only finish third to Black Piranha in his first of his two Stradbroke wins in 2009.
Other runners that are looking for a last minute entry into the Stradbroke with a QTC Cup win are Conservatorium, Startsmeup, Latin News, Miss Stellabelle and Smokin’ Joey.
Mahisara heads the betting in the QTC Cup at $4.20 while he is a $26 chance is early Stradbroke markets.
The Gerlad Ryan trained Hot Snitzel, Peter Snowden’s Galah and Gai Waterhouse’s Miss Stellabelle are next in QTC Cup betting at $7 while Decision Time ($7.50), Griffon ($8) and Startsmeup ($9) are also well in contention.