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Crack Me Up will be the only runner for Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker in the 2020 Group 1 $350,000 The Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.

Crack Me Up, above, will go into The Stradbroke Handicap second up at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Crack Me Up, above, will go into The Stradbroke Handicap second up at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Last start Dark Jewel Classic winner Irithea was also among the nominations for The Stradbroke Handicap but Baker said that he would keep her against the Fillies and Mares and head to the Group 2 $175,000 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm the next week.

Crack Me Up and Irithea galloped together on the course proper at Warwick Farm on Tuesday morning and Baker was happy with the way both horses stretched out.

“He (Crack Me Up) will go straight in (The Stradbroke).  He had a gallop on the course proper with Irithea and he went very well. They both went very well,” Baker told Sky Racing’s Racing HQ.

Crack Me Up was prepared by Liam Birchley when he finished fourth in the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap when it was run at Doomben while Eagle Farm was under repair but Baker did saddle the gelding up when he won the Group 3 $150,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Randwick during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Baker has a big opinion of Crack Me Up who did finished fourth behind Winx in the 2018 Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill and he is giving the six year old a good lightweigtht chance in The Stradbroke Handicap at double figure odds.

“On his day he is a very good horse,” Baker said.

“I had him a while back when he won the Liverpool City Cup and he came fourth behind Winx in the George Ryder and wasn’t beaten too far as well. Maybe not too far from second anyway.”

“On his day he is a very very good horse and he gets into the race with absolutely no weight and his first up run was excellent.”

“I’m bullish that he will run a really good race in the Stradbroke at good odds.”

“I definitely think he is a fresh horse. He is better with his runs spaced and it is a good lead up for him with pretty much a month in between runs.”

“He is big horse but is a natural athlete.”

Crack Me Up will have four weeks in between runs after resuming from a spell for a fourth in the Listed $120,000 Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on May 9 while Irithea will go into the Dane Ripper Stakes as a last start winner in the Group 3 $160,000 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Rosehill on May 16.

“She (Irithea) will just go to the Dane Ripper. We will stick to the Fillies and Mares races with her and she should go and be very competitive in that race with Ryan Maloney on,” Baker said.

Crack Me Up is at the double figure odds of $31 at Ladbrokes.com.au for The Stradbroke Handicap while last year’s winner Trekking sits at the top of the market order at $6.

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.