Queensland Guineas winner Sizzling will carry 52kg in the Saturday’s Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm after escaping a penalty for last weekend’s win.
The Kelso Wood trained three year old bounced back to winning form with blinkers on for the first time with top jockey Chris Munce riding aggressively to take out the Group 2 $350,000 Sky Racing Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Sizzling shot straight up the Stradbroke Handicap market and is challenging Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette for favouritism in the Winter Carnival’s feature race.
Peter Snowden’s Epaulette is at the top of the market at $5 and holds a narrow margin over Sizzling, Your Song and Better Than Ready all at $6.
Group 1 bridesmaid Buffering is rated a $9 chance with Arinosa at $10 and Academus at $11.
The three year olds are dominating the Stradbroke market and the barrier draw on Wednesday will play a major part in who will be favourite at start time.
Wood finally relented and put the blinkers on Sizzling after last season’s top two year old was struggling to regain his winning form with two unplaced runs this campaign.
The Snitzel colt was sent out favourite when a lacklustre fifth to Academus in the Group 3 $125,000 Pacific Petroleum Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at the Gold Coast on May 4 then he never threatened when sixth to Platinum Kingdom in the Group 3 $125,000 Grinders Coffee Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 18.
But the step up to 1400m back on his favourite track as well as the soft ground helped Sizzling rocket back into Stradbroke Handicap contention.
“Blinkers have helped him. I’ve always been a bit reluctant to put them on but now he’s a bit older and that, he’s a bit more relaxed, we thought we better try them, so it’s worked out pretty good,” Wood said after last Saturday’s win.
“It’s probably made him focus a bit more. Coming here on a bit of a wet track suits him too.”
Wood is looking to saddle up three Stradbroke runners with last start Doomben winner Belltone as well as new stable acquisition Spirit Song.
Flemington trainer John Sadler is hoping for a similar result from Linton when the six year old lines up in Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap.
Sadler will put the blinkers back on Linton dropping back in distance for Saturday’s Group 1 after making it two wins on the trot in the Group 3 $150,000 R A Lee Stakes over 1600m at Morphettville on May 11.
“Always thought they would help him when we wanted to run him over a shorter trip,” Sadler said.
“He’s going well the old fella, and he had a jump-out here last week against Shamexpress and showed a good bit of dash too.”
But Sadler knows that the Stradbroke is a huge step up in class following his wins in Listed and Group 3 company.
“He’ll need to improve of course because he’s going right up in grade, but he’s going well,” Sadler added..
“He’ll fly up tonight, but he’s pretty much ready to go.”
Linton is guaranteed a run with 54.5kg and is currently a $26 chance.