The 2015 Stradbroke Handicap will be the major winter goal for talented sprinter Big Money, who is set to return to racing in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Big Money has not been seen at the races since he took out the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on December 20 and trainer Rod Northam elected to skip the majority of the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with the five-year-old to save him for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Northam confirmed that Big Money would start his preparation in the Hall Mark Stakes this weekend before he heads to Brisbane for the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 9, the Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 23and the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at the same venue on June 6.
“He will run in the BTC Sprint and then the 10,000 and then the Stradbroke,” Northam said.
“The 10,000 third run in and the Stradbroke fourth run in he should be spot on.
“The two runs in Brisbane over the summer were to see if he was going to run the 1350 and he carried good weight that day too and ran really good sectionals.
“The Stradbroke has always been the aim, but if we can win a couple before that it would be the icing on top of the straight.”
Big Money finished his summer campaign with two impressive wins in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) and Lough Neagh Stakes and he showed that he was ready for a return to racing when he recorded a dominant 12 lengths victory in a barrier trial over 1000 metres at Muswellbrook on March 29.
Northam believes that Big Money took plenty of benefit from his stint in the spelling paddock and he said that he is very excited to see the five-year-old return to racing in the Hall Mark Stakes.
“He has come through the trial really well and I am really excited to get him to the races,” Northam said.
“I think he has just filled out a little bit more, he is not a big horse but he is a very strong horse and he always looked a bit wiry in the mounting yard but he is a real horse now and I am really excited to get him going.”
Big Money was purchased for $75,000 at the 2011 Inglis Scone Select Yearling Sale and he has already accumulated also $600,000 in prizemoney for connections.