2012 Stradbroke Handicap: Live race updates, blog
The $1m Stradbroke Handicap (1400 metres) is the premier horse race in Queensland. Join us for live race updates and a blog from Eagle Farm in Brisbane as we build up to the 2012 Stradbroke which is due to begin at 3:40pm AEST.
There’s 23 horses entered in this year’s Stradbroke but five of those are emergencies, meaning a maximum of 18 horses will head to the start for the feature race of the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
When I wrote this preview on Friday night, the track was rated a slow six and I’ve assessed the form with a drying slow track condition in mind.
1. Buffering (58 kgs, Barrier 18, Odds 7.5)
I rank Buffering inside the top five sprinters in the country and that makes him hard to beat in a race like this. He has three things against him: the weight, the barrier and the distance.
However, his class which saw him finish third in this year’s Newmarket Handicap behind Hay List and Foxwedge is going to carry him a long way here.
His performance to finish second in the Doomben 10,000 last start was enormous considering he missed track-work and a lead-up race because of a minor injury he suffered after winning by seven lengths at this track in early May. He’s trained at the track and is a massive chance.
2. Temple Of Boom (57kgs, Barrier 5, Odds 16)
Temple Of Boom proved his class when winning The Galaxy over 1100m at Group I at Randwick during the Sydney Carnival. His dead and slow form is very good. Last start he finished third in the key Weight-For-Age lead-up to this race – the Doomben 10000 but was beaten convincingly by over two lengths. I think he’s weighted poorly and isn’t suited at 1400 metres; he’s more of a sprinter.
3. Happy Zero (56kgs, Barrier 10, Odds 51)
I rate this horse very highly but since coming over to Australia from Hong Kong we are yet to see his best form in seven runs. At a distance of 1400, he is likely to find a few of his opponents a bit sharp. He is a massive dry tracker so that plays against him today. He is fresh of a six week let-up and could place if he found his best form. Prepared to risk him.
4. Pinwheel (56kgs, Barrier 16, Odds 18)
Pinwheel is a super consistent racehorse that is probably a little out of his depth in this grade. The fact he must carry 56 kilograms works against him here, as does the wide barrier. If the rain came and the track worsened to a rating of heavy, I think it would help his chances. In any case, I’d prefer him at 1200-1300 metres in Group Two/Three grade. Place best.
5. Thankgodyou’rehere (55.5kgs, Barrier 1, Odds 26)
This bloke is another that I think is poorly weighted. His best performance is a fifth-placed finish in the Group One Galaxy when first-up this campaign.
He’s had one run since and was never in the contest when 12th in the 10000. The barrier could help him settle closer and the extra distance plays into his hands somewhat.
He isn’t proven at this level.
6. Sea Siren (55kgs, Barrier 6, Odds 4.4)
Sea Siren in the favourite for this race and is aiming for the clean-sweep of the Brisbane sprint Group One’s this winter – she has already claimed the BTC Cup and Doomben 10000.
As a three-year old filly, she must be on her game because she is giving away weight to many horses that are both males and older than her.
I think this Stradbroke has a bit of a tail to it and a lot of horses that may’ve been right in contention haven’t drawn as sweetly as she has in six. I think she can get a nice run in behind the leaders and will be hard to hold out. She’ll be in the finish.
7. Phelan Ready (54.5kgs, Barrier 22, Odds 31)
Now don’t be disheartened by this bloke drawing out in gate 22 – it is a blessing in disguise. His best three runs (winning the Magic Millions 2YO, Golden Slipper and fourth in this year’s Newmarket behind Hay List) all came when he was ridden ‘cold’, back in the field, waiting for the straight to make his run.
The draw of 22 will force jockey Glyn Schofield to go all the way back to last and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Phelan Ready scorch down the outside in the final 200 metres. He’s had ten tries at 1400 for only one third place finish but ridden softly, he should finish the race off well.
If I was playing trifectas, I’d throw this bloke in. The wet ground is a positive, especially if it gets into the heavy range.
8. Tiger Tees (54.5, Barrier 11, Odds 7.5)
I’m prepared to take this bloke on. He’s rising in grade and distance and he has an awkward draw to content with. Watch this bloke, who will race in predominately green colours, to make an early bid for the lead.
First-up this campaign he just lasted in a Listed race over 1200 metres at Randwick to beat the luckless Pinwheel. Pinwheel went onto to finish a well-beaten eighth in the Doomben 10000 while Tiger Tees was just able hang on for a courageous win in the Group Three BRC Sprint over 1350 metres three weeks ago.
I think he’s under the odds and I’m not convinced he’s ready for Group One grade, especially at 1400 – a distance he’s never seen.
9. Triple Elegance (54.5kgs, Barrier 15, Odds 61)
At 60/1 I don’t think this bloke is without a chance. His form which saw him finish third at Group One WFA level twice last season at Rosehill over 1500 puts him high up in the pecking order for this race.
He couldn’t find his best form in the Sydney autumn but warranted a trip to Brisbane after putting in a much improved third placed finish in a quality Scone Open Handicap over 1300 metres three weeks ago.
The slow track suits and if Larry Cassidy can get him into a decent position from the gate, I think he could run a place. If you have a dollar on him at least you know the distance is no worry and you can be sure he’s good enough for this.
10. Spirit Of Boom (54kgs, Barrier 14, Odds 16)
I’m going to select this bloke on top. I thought his run to finish fourth in the 10,000 was super and he drops five kilos into this. The barrier is of some concern but Brisbane-based jockey Rick McMahon knows Eagle Farm as well as anyone and if he can slot his mount into a nice position, I can see him finishing off nicely.
Spirit Of Boom is an improving type that has won over the distance once. He can handle slow ground and performs well at the track. He’s fourth up and primed for this. Good eachway hope.
11. Torio’s Quest (54kgs, Barrier 19, Odds 9)
I remember watching an interview with Brett Partelle, the trainer of Torio’s Quest, about nine months ago and when John Tapp asked him “What’s the one race you want to win as a trainer?”, Partelle responded “I want to win the Cox Plate with Torio’s Quest”.
I nearly fell off my seat when I heard those words but obviously Partelle rates this bloke very highly.
Torio’s Quest never made it to last year’s Cox Plate – in fact, ever since that interview went to air, he’s been pretty disappointing but he enters this time-honoured Group One as a key player according to the market.
To be honest, I think his best is good enough to figure here but I’m not sure he’s going brilliantly. He did beat Triple Elegance home in at that Scone Handicap last start but Torio’s Quest was given the most glorious of rides and was outgunned in the run to the line by Riva De Lago who failed miserably in wet conditions at Doomben last week.
At the odds and with the barrier of 19, I’m prepared to take on Torio’s Quest. He could announce his arrival in this race but personally, I think it’s safer to jump on after his breakthrough victory.
12. Celtic Dancer (53.5kgs, Barrier 8, Odds 41)
In every big handicap there is a horse whose chances rely solely on the weather and in this year’s Stradbroke it is Celtic Dancer who was conducting a rain dance on Friday afternoon because if his wish was granted and a downpour came, this bloke would rocket into contention.
He’s an up-and-comer that’s won three from four on heavy ground – and his two best wins (the latter, last week at Group Two level when he led all the way) were also on bog tracks.
If the track is slow or better, he’s probably going around for practice. If it’s heavy he can win.
I think the track will be rated as a slow/dead and therefore I’m taking him on. I would say he’s about five lengths superior on wet ground as opposed to dry.
13. Listen Son (53.3kgs, Barrier 3, Odds 71)
Good luck to connections here – they’ve done well to get this local into the race and it will be a massive thrill for them to see him go around in this race.
Listen Son quite simply isn’t good enough to figure in this race but he does have an 80 per cent winning record at the Eagle Farm 1400 metres. He’s a dry tracker and we won’t be getting anywhere near a good rating so I’m passing on him.
14. Mid Summer Music (53.5kgs, Barrier 7, Odds 26)
Her claim to fame is that she’s the only horse to have finished second to both Black Caviar and Atlantic Jewel – two of the world’s best three rated mares, but she isn’t a 1400-metre horse and therefore won’t be figuring in the finish of this race.
To be perfectly honest, I believe her best probably behind her – she won four races last preparation yet hasn’t recorded a win this time in.
I prefer others. The only positive is that she likes the wet and I suppose could be thrown into multiples with that in mind.
15. Sistine Angel (53kgs, Barrier 17, Odds 26)
I don’t think she’s a bad roughie in this race. Her run in the 10,000 was good. She’ll go back and will attempt to finish over the top of some of the tiring leaders. She’s a Group Two winner over a mile and finished second behind Black Caviar in the Sangster last month over 1200 – the distance is perfect.
If she gets a nice run, it wouldn’t surprise to see her run a place. She’s in good form.
16. Varenna Miss (53kgs, Barrier 20, Odds 15)
She draws horribly out in 20 and that means she’s going to race more forward or backward that what she’s used to. I’m not sure she’s a 1400 metre horse (more a sprinter I’d say) and that’s going to make it difficult if she’s made to race outside of her comfort zone.
She’s a quality mare that is effective on wet ground but I’m not sure things are going to fall into place for her. Not the worst but her market price is a bit skinny.
17. Wealth Princess (53kgs, Barrier 12, Odds 8)
Wealth Princess is a genuine winning chance in this race. First-up she was outstanding in the Wangoom at the Warrnambool Carnival when racing for the first time in two years.
She backed that up with a very good win in the Glenlogan Park (a race she won in 2010) before failing to fire under a big impost in the wet at Group Two level last week.
If the track can dry out into a dead rating, I think it brings her right into contention. She has a tricky draw to overcome. She actually finished second at this course and distance at Group One level in 2010.
She’s on the one-week back-up which I feel is a positive. With no weight she’s in contention for sure.
18. Shopaholic (51.5kgs, Barrier 23, Odds 26)
I think the gate kills her chances. She races best when just forward of midfield but from that gate it’s hard to imagine her ending up in anything but an unfavourable position.
She’s a real quality three-year old filly. In fact, she’s the last horse to defeat four-time Group One winner Mosheen; a horse that is in contention for Horse Of The Year honours to be decided at season’s end in six weeks’ time.
Don’t leave her out of your multiples because with 51.5kgs to carry and a bit of luck she can certainly figure. 1400 and a dead surface are right down her ally.
19. Jetset Lad (Emergency One, 53.5kgs, Barrier 9, Odds 71)
Kiwi visitor that did show something very late when finishing tenth in Listed grade at Doomben a fortnight ago. He’s been very competitive in this sort of grade in New Zealand but his best form appears to be on good ground.
I’m prepared to take him on but if he can bring his a-game he will be there at the end.
20. Pampelone (Emergency Two, 51.5kgs, Barrier 13, Odds 16)
This three-year old could be a rising star but the question is whether he is up to this sort of challenge so soon in his career. He was brilliant when winning the Scone Guineas three weeks ago.
On the quick back-up and racing for the first time in Brisbane, he was somewhat disappointing when finishing sixth in the 10000. I think the step-up from 1350 to 1400 will suit and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him improve sharply. He is weighted very well.
If he gets a start, I expect him to be in the finish. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lead and give a sight with little weight on his back.
21. Mental (Emergency Three, 51.5kgs, Barrier 21, Odds 11)
In time I think Mental, another three year old, will develop into a Group One performer. He just has so much ability. He’s on the quick back-up here and it will be interesting to see how he performs should he get a run.
His first two runs this preparation were outstanding. Last week he missed the start and wasn’t suited in wet conditions but to the horse’s credit he still ran on well from the back to finish fifth.
The gate is a huge problem for him because I assume he will end up near last and it’s going to be hard to win from there. At the price, I’d prefer to watch him.
He’s a good miler in the making.
22. Solzhenitsyn (Emergency Four, 53kgs, Barrier 4, Odds 18)
If this bloke got a start, I reckon he’d be a good roughie. I can see him getting a soft run on the speed from his good gate and with such a small weight he’ll be hard to toss in the straight.
The distance is no problems for him and he is in career-best form. Good eachway hope especially on a dead track.
23. Carry Me Bluey (Emergency Five, 53 kgs, Barrier 2, Odds 81)
He requires five scratchings to gain a start which seems unlikely but even if he got a start, I can’t see him figuring in the finish. Genuine roughie.
Stradbroke Handicap Tips
1. Spirit Of Boom
3. Sea Siren
4. Triple Elegance
5. Wealth Princess
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