Stradbroke Handicap now for Azkadellia

Last Saturday’s Coolmore Legacy Stakes winner Azkadellia will be freshened up before heading to Queensland for a tilt at the Group 1 $2m Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.

Azkadellia will now head to Brisbane for the Stradbroke Handicap after winning the Coolmore Legacy Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Azkadellia will now head to Brisbane for the Stradbroke Handicap after winning the Coolmore Legacy Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Trainer Ciaron Maher is keen to return to the Sunshine State and chase back to back Stradbroke Handicaps after winning Brisbane’s Winter Carnival flagship sprint with Srikandi last year.

Azkadellia was able to provide the Caulfield based trainer with his first Group 1 win in Sydney when Damien Oliver steered her up along the fence to win the $1m The Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m), previously known as The Queen Of The Turf Stakes, on the second day of ‘The Championships’ at Randwick.

Maher will now give the four year old mare a short break before heading to Brisbane with the plan to have her nice and fresh heading into the Stradbroke Handicap.

“We will see how she is. I am just giving her a little freshen up for a couple of weeks and then the plan is to head into the Stradie relatively fresh,” Maher told RSN’s Racing Ahead.

Maher is also thinking forward to the Spring and if the mare’s form warrants it, will then prepare her for a Spring Carnival campaign with the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley high on the agenda.

Maher is keen to try Azkadellia over 2000m and said that he would have had no hesitation in running her over that distance in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday if she had won the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) the previous week.

But after the mare ran her usual honest race to finish third to Winx in the Doncaster Mile so he stuck to the 16000m of The Coolmore Legacy Stakes against the fillies and mares.

“I always thought that I could stretch her out to the 2000m,” Maher said.

“If she has won the Doncaster I was pretty keen to give her a shot at the Queen Elizabeth.

“It will be interesting when I do take her out to the ten furlongs (2000m). I think there is plenty more upside with her.”

“(Cox Plate) would be one of her options. There are probably a few for her but if I was going to stretch her out to the ten furlongs that is probably the race you would have a crack at.”

Last Saturday’s win took Azkadellia’s winning record to six from fourteen starts and boosted her earnings to just over $1.33 million.

In an early Stradbroke Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au, Azkadellia is on the second line of betting at $5 behind the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Malaguerra at $4.50.

The Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart shares the next line of betting at $9 with Queen Elizabeth Stakes third placegetter Happy Clapper ahead of Canberra trained sprinter Fell Swoop and Kiwi three year old Xtravagant at $11.

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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