A slick morning gallop by Srikandi has lifted the confidence of trainer Ciaron Maher heading into Saturday’s Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben.
Srikandi was one of the stars at Breakfast With The Stars at Doomben on Tuesday morning and Maher was certain the Dubawi mare is back to her best.
“I was wrapped with her work today (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.
Maher said that he had always planned to have Srikandi peaking on Stradbroke Day and was looking to go better than last year when she was sent out the $6 favourite before finishing third behind locals River Lad and Temple Of Boom.
Srikandi arrived back in Queensland this year looking to improve when she romped in the Group 2 $200,000 SMEG Victory Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast on April 25.
But then a slow getaway in the Group 1 $500,000 UBET BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 9 saw Srikandi miss a place for the time in her career when eighth to Hot Snitzel.
Maher admits the tardy start in the BTC Cup put her back in her preparation as he backed off her work to try to rectify her barrier manners.
Her run in the Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 23 was slightly better when sixth to Boban and Maher has been pleased with her progress since.
“Srikandi has tightened up since the Doomben 10,000,” Maher said.
“Before that race I had worked her a fraction easier due to her having an awkward start in the BTC Cup. She pulled up a bit big after the 10,000 and she would have taken benefit from that run.”
“Two starts ago it was a forget run and last start she needed the run. She has had a couple of excuses.”
Damian Browne has been aboard Srikandi in all her three Winter Carnival starts but is unable to make the 53kg in the Stradbroke Handicap with Maher having to turn to Kerrin McEvoy to take Saturday’s mount.
Srikandi is well in the betting for the Stradbroke Handicap at $11 with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Melbourne filly Lumosty the favourite at $5.
Western Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart heads up the rest of the field at $6 with the John O’Shea trained Generalife next in the betting at $7 ahead of Doomben 10,000 runner up Charlie Boy at $9, Delectation and Knoydart at $10, Sacred Star at $12 and Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winner Boban at $13.