Gutsy Doomben winner Tiger Tees is guaranteed a spot in the Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 after being penalised 0.5kg for his narrow win on Saturday.
Christian Reith shot Tiger Tees out of a wide gate with great acceleration to share the lead with Michael Cahill on Listen Son and after kicking clear in the straight held on to win by a short head in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m).
In a blanket finish, five horses cross the line within half a length of the winner, but Reith was always confident Tiger Tees would hang on to win.
“I knew he would kick when they came at him,” Reith said.
The Joe Pride trained four year old has now won eight from eleven starts and has been elevated to 53.5kg for the Stradbroke, which will see him comfortably in the field.
Pride is confident Tiger Tees will handle the step up to a tough 1400m at Eagle Farm and is hoping for some rain leading up to the $1m sprint.
“If he gets a wet track on Stradbroke day I say good luck trying to beat him,” Pride said.
“He’s a very courageous little horse this horse. He doesn’t know how to give in. He never wins by a margin, they’re always coming at him and they never get him.”
Tiger Tees has climbed up the market order and shares the $13 mark for the Stradbroke with other Doomben winners Solzhenitsyn and Wealth Princess.
The Peter Snowden trained Mental has been installed outright favourite at $7.50 after blowing away his opposition in the Group 3 $125,000 Ascend Sales Fred Best Classic (1350m) against the three year olds but isn’t assured of a start with only 50.5kg and 45th in order of entry.
Mental escaped a penalty as did three year old Pampelonne who has been elevated to equal second favourite with Sea Siren at $8 and is also precariously placed at number 43 in the order of entry.
Trainer Tim Martin decided to bring Pampelonne to Brisbane after winning the $500,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas (1400m) at Scone on Saturday by three and a half lengths and will give the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding his chance to run in the Stradbroke by winning the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Doomben 10,000 is an exempt free race for the Stradbroke and a win in the weight for age contest would guarantee the three year old a start at Eagle Farm.
Corey Brown will be the new rider for Pampelonne this Saturday, replacing Hugh Bowman who has snapped up the ride on Buffering in the Doomben 10,000.
Buffering, who has been under an injury cloud, is on the road to recovery and trainer Robert Heathcote is confident he will be right to run on Saturday.
“I’m confident he’ll get there. I gave him two laps around Doomben on Saturday and he pulled up great,” Heathcote said.
“The stone bruise burst out on Friday after he came back from a 60-minute walk at the beach.”
Jockey Jim Cassidy will return from suspension to ride Sea Siren in the 10,000, but trainer John O’Shea said she would not be a certain Stradbroke runner if she won fearing she would get a penalty and he wouldn’t want to burden the filly with too much weight against the older horses.