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Smaller Doomben track will test Stradbroke Handicap favourite Clearly Innocent

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Trainer Kris Lees is concerned that Stradbroke Handicap favourite Clearly Innocent won’t be as comfortable on the tighter Doomben track on Saturday after being completely dominant on the more open spaces at Eagle Farm last start.

Clearly Innocent, above, will be tested around the Doomben track in the Stradbroke Handicap. Photo by Steve Hart.

Clearly Innocent, above, will be tested around the Doomben track in the Stradbroke Handicap. Photo by Steve Hart.

Clearly Innocent made it a one act affair over the concluding stages when he ran away from Jungle Edge to record a three lengths win in the Group 1 $700,000 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) on May 27.

Clearly Innocent cemented his spot at the top of the market order at $4 at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) which has been switch to Doomben because of ongoing problems with the track at its traditional home at Eagle Farm.

The five year old showed his liking for the bigger tracks two starts back with another commanding win in the Listed $150,000 Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone’s Metropolitan meeting on May 13 and Lees admits that the tight turning Doomben circuit could pose a problem.

“It is not ideal having the race switched to Doomben because it does appear Clearly Innocent is best suited on the bigger tracks,’’ Lees told The Daily Telegraph.

Lees has reported that Clearly Innocent has recovered well from his dominant win on the shifty Eagle Farm surface and will line up in the Stradbroke Handicap in fine order.

“But the main thing is the horse pulled up very well after his win at Eagle Farm last start. The track was very testing on a lot of horses that day but he came through it well,’’ Lees said.

Clearly Innocent was stranded at the top of the Stradbroke Handicap weights with 55.5kg when trainer Darren Weir didn’t accept with the original top weight Black Heart Bart at first acceptance time.

Because the top weight, which will be Clearly Innocent, has to carry the mandatory 57kg, the weights will be raised 1.5kg at the final acceptance time on Wednesday morning.

Early market order for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Clearly Innocent, $7.50 Counterattack, $8 Derryn, $9 Ulmann, $10 Impending, $13 Jungle Edge, Mackintosh, $15 Bonny O’Reilly, In Her Time, $17  Burning Front, Egyptian Symbol, $21 Gold Symphony, $26 Good Project, Hooked, The Virginian, $34 or better the rest

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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