Srikandi will get every chance to make amends for last year’s third placing after drawing the inside barrier for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Ciaron Maher trained Srikandi has had an indifferent start to the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival but showed that she was back on track with a sizzling gallop at Doomben on Tuesday morning.
Maher is confident that the Dubawi mare has turned the corner and with only 53kg looms as one of the main chances in the $2m Winter Carnival showpiece.
“I was wrapped with her work (Tuesday), which was very sharp, and her weight is now pretty right. I always trained her to peak for the Stradbroke and I reckon she won’t be far away on Saturday,’ Maher told The Courier-Mail.
Kerrin McEvoy takes over from Damian Browne on Srikandi and is certain to give her the run of the race just behind the leading bunch.
Ruling favourite Lumosty came up with barrier thirteen with Corey Brown to ride but will need plenty of luck to gain a start after being relegated to first emergency at final acceptance time.
Speedster Lord Of The Sky only knows one way to race and that is to go forward and Tommy Berry will have no problems finding the front from barrier three.
The Robbie Laing trained Lord Of The Sky is racing in outstanding form with second placings from his last start starts at Group 1 level in the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 6 and then in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.
Topweight Boban has drawn midfield at barrier eight and Glyn Schofield will be able to find plenty of cover in the second half of the field for the Chris Waller trained multiple Group 1 winner.
Boban was back to his best when he came from near last on the home turn to win the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 23 but with 58kg meets the rest of the Stradbroke Handicap field worst at the weights.
Waller will also saddle up three year old Delectation with Glen Boss from barrier eleven and could have a third runner if third emergency Flamingo Star (barrier 20) gets a run.
Peter and Paul Snowden have two strong chances with BTC Cup winner Hot Snitzel and Doomben 10,000 runner up Charlie Boy.
Hot Snitzel has drawn out at sixteen but could jump from gate thirteen if the emergencies fail to get a start and Blake Shinn will be looking to slot into the first half of the field as he did before winning the Group 1 $500,000 UBET BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 9.
Craig Williams takes over from Shinn on Charlie Boy (barrier 7) who meets Boban 4kg better after getting beaten by a head in the Doomben 10,000.
Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is expecting a lot of improvement from Scared Star and has a couple of big pluses with Zac Purton to fly in from Hong Kong to ride and the five year old has drawn a nice barrier at five.
Western Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart is well in the market but was out of luck in the barrier draw coming up with gate seventeen but could come in three places if the emergencies don’t run. Top Perth jockey Glenn Smith retains the ride.
Stradbroke Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5.50 Lumosty, $6 Charlie Boy, $7.50 Black Heart Bart, $8 Generalife, $8.50 Delectation, $9 Boban, $9.50 Knoydart, $12 Srikandi, $13 Sacred Star, $14 Hot Snitzel, $18 Big Money, $19 Lord Of The Sky, $31 El Roca, $41 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, Rock Sturdy, Smokin’ Joey, $51 Temple Of Boom, $81 Fontelina, $101 Flamingo Star, Riva De Lago, $201 Tried And Tired.