Jockey Peter Robl is willing to forgive Your Song for his unplaced effort at Doomben last start and says he is the horse to beat in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Robl is back aboard Your Song after missing the ride because of suspension in the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 25.
Hugh Bowman took over the reins and let Your Song race on the pace from a wide barrier before fading in the straight to finish sixth to the fast finishing Epaulette.
Robl had been on Your Song for the majority of his starts and steered the Fastnet Rock colt to a breathtaking five lengths victory in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on May 11 in heavy conditions.
Robl saw three year old Sizzling return to form with a win in the Group 2 $350,000 Sky Racing Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday and is confident his colt will be too good for the local hero.
“Honestly, I don’t believe Sizzling could beat him giving him a head start which he is going to have to do,” Robl said.
“Sizzling will be spotting me four of five lengths and I really don’t believe he’d be able to run me down. I think Your Song is the horse to beat in the Stradbroke.”
Bowman rode Your Song aggressively from the outside gate in the Doomben 10,000 and put on a solid pace with Buffering setting the race up for a run-on horse which eventuated with Epaulette finishing strongly from back in the field.
The Peter Snowden trained Epaulette paid the penalty for his second Group 1 win and was handicapped with 56kg in the Stradbroke, making a win for the Commands colt very difficult.
While Your Song only has to carry 54kg, two kilos less than Epaulette, but two kilos more than Sizzling who escaped a penalty after his Queensland Guineas win.
“The only good thing about the Doomben 10,000 was he doesn’t get re-handicapped for it. So he goes around with 54kg on his back in the Stradbroke, dropping 3kg from the BTC Cup,” Robl said.
“In the 10,000 he drew awkward which forced his hand in going forward and that didn’t work for him.
“Even though he can be that little bit lazy, once you stoke him up he knows it is time to go.”
While trainer Anthony Cummings agrees with Robl that Your Song can beat Sizzling, he still regards Epaulette as the hardest to beat.
“Sizzling was impressive in the Queensland Guineas but it is another step up in grade for the Stradbroke,” Cummings said.
“Epaulette is proven in that grade and his win in the Doomben 10,000 was excellent so I feel he is the one to beat.”
Epaulette holds a slight advantage in the Stradbroke market and is the $5 favourite ahead of Your Song, Better Than Ready and Sizzling all at $6.
Group 1 bridesmaid Buffering is rated a $9 chance with Arinosa at $10 and Academus at $11.