The consistent Neo will be given his chance in the Brisbane Winter Carnival’s flagship race, the Stradbroke Handicap, after winning the Listed $100,000 Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast today.
Winning trainer Stuart Kendrick said the five year old was nominated for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) which will be run at Doomben this year on June 6 because of the Eagle Farm track reconstruction.
“We have got him nominated in the Stradbroke and we will have another chat to Glen and Lisa Morton (owners) and see where we go from there,” Kendrick said.
Neo has been placed twice from three runs this preparation with a third and a second at Doomben and Kendrick had been waiting for a change of luck and a good barrier.
“He has done a great job. He has had some bad gates and everything like that and today we finally got a good gate and a up to the 1400m suits him,” Kendrick said.
“Jimmy was able to give him a great run and he’s done the job.”
“He is a tough horse and he has just thrived since that last run and he’s put it all together today, it’s terrific.”
Jim Byrne was able to take up a handy position from barrier five and Neo ($6) was able to hold off all challenges in the straight to win by one length from the unlucky Ninth Legion ($4.20) with Gundy Spirit ($7) running on for third.
The race was marred with tragedy when $4 favourite The Peak sadly broke down when challenging for the lead at the 200m.
Runner up Ninth Legion had had a tough wide run for most of the trip and was then slightly hampered when Damian Browne eased The Peak out of the race.
Today’s win was Neo’s seventh from twenty-six starts and took his winning prizemoney to $296,000.