The feature race of the Queensland carnival is the Stradbroke Handicap over the 1400m and returns to Eagle Farm after an extended hiatus.
The race has thrown up a roughie or two with the average winning price since 2005 being in excess of $16.
The Tony Pike trained galloper will be looking to become the first horse to complete the Brisbane Winter Group 1 treble after taking out the Doomben 10,000, Kingsford-Smith Cup leading into this race. He is undefeated in five Queensland starts dating back to June of 2018 and after starting much longer odds in his two starts in Brisbane this prep, he will most likely jump as favourite. Has drawn barrier ten and is a live chance in the race after getting in well in the weights.
Home Of The Brave
The Godolphin Group 2 winner (Theo Marks Stakes) has had an interrupted preparation leading into the Stradbroke Handicap having missed the Kingsford-Smith Cup with an elevated temperature. He seemingly recovered quickly and won a trial at Deagon by four lengths last Tuesday. His last race was on the 20th of April and his fresh record is very good (8:4-2-0). He has performed well at his only go at Group 1 level when he was beaten just over a length in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes behind Jungle Cat last Spring. Barrier 22 will not help his chances.
If winning form is good form than Despatch comes into this race as the form horse. The progressive four year old Written Tycoon gelding has strung three black type races together culminating in the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap at his last start. He drops 1.5kg for his win in Adelaide and has drawn well on the inside in barrier 1. He is a live chance in the race.
Widgee Turf has been performing consistently of late albeit at a lower grade of racing. His races have been spaced a part this prep which he really seems to be responding to and he comes into this race on the back of a very good win at Caulfield last start over the mile. He should be plenty fit for this tough assignment however I’m not sure he is up to this level of racing.
Trekking is one of four runners for James Cummings and Godolphin and the market suggests he is their best chance. His third placed effort in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup was full of merit and he drops 5kgs from that race into this. He is a very progressive four year old gelding who reminds me a lot of Impending who won the race for Godolphin two years ago. Barrier 13 is not ideal but Kerrin McEvoy knows how to win a big race and he is one of the main players in the race.
Dollar For Dollar
Dollar For Dollar was the first horse beaten in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup and after garnering some support in the market before jump. The six year old gelding was superb in the Doomben 10,000 and was beaten a lip in the Sir Rupert Clarke last Spring so he is capable of a high rating performance on his day. He will have to improve on his last start as well as an easy time on the speed for him to be a chance in this race. Barrier 19 did not help his chances.
Endless Drama is the second runner for trainer Tony Pike and the seven year old is a live chance in the race after drawing a good barrier. He had to go right back in the Kingsford-Smith Cup after drawing wide and his closing sectionals were as good as anything else in the race. He was last on the turn however he hugged the rail to end up finishing 6th, beaten 1.7 lengths. He is currently at attractive each-way odds and he may be the sleeping giant in the race. He drops 5kgs for his effort last start.
Spright finally broke through for a much deserved Group 1 win in the TAB Classic at Morphettville after running well at the top level for so long. Damien Oliver went back with the mare in the Goodwood and saved ground by taking an inside run however she peaked on her run late to run third. She meets Despatch 1.5kgs better at the weights for this assignment and barrier 15 shouldn’t be too much of an issue as she will go back in the field after jumping anyway. Glen Boss gets the ride and you can look for her late!
Tom Melbourne has been racing consistently without winning. Actually that could probably be the title of his biography! We all joke but he is a very honest horse however not only is this short of his ideal distance, he hasn’t performed at Group 1 level for a while now and his best days may be past him at this level.
Man Booker never seems to be far away in his races and he has won 10 of his 24 race starts to date. He is another that will appreciate the drop in weight for this assignment however he has drawn terribly and does not map well into the race. I prefer others.
Viridine has been chucked in the Stradbroke Handicap field after the progressive four year old ran within a length of Pretty In Pink in the Moreton Cup at Doomben last weekend. He meets that filly better at the weights here and he will be better suited to Eagle Farm. I’m not convinced he is up to Group 1 level at this stage in his career but there are worse chances in the race.
Deploy has managed to win eight of his 22 race starts however he has not been seen in the winners stall since September of 2017. His third behind Trekking in the Luskin Star at Scone was encouraging and he meets that horse slightly better at the weights however I’m not sure he has shown the amount of improvement necessary to turn the tables on that horse.
Tyzone is a very honest performer in Brisbane racing and comes into this race on the back of a career best performance in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben. He was dominant that day and we see year in and year out these local horses peak for this race. He drops 4.5kgs for his 1.75 length win in that race and with even luck he can feature in the finish.
I’m A Rippa
Another of the local hopes who comes into this race in decent form. He has drawn wide which suits the horse as he will attempt to go straight to the front. Veteran hoop Jeff Lloyd will ride the horse in his last ever Stradbroke Handicap after announcing his retirement during the week. He will need plenty to go right and a soft time of it in front and I prefer others.
What a bargain buy this tough little mare has been for Australian Bloodstock! She has now won almost three quarters of a millions dollars in prize money and was actually being sent to the sales before her fast finishing second behind The Bostonian in the Kingsford-Smith Cup. The owners decided to keep her for another run and rightly so as she looks a genuine chance in the race. She is capable of putting in a high rating performance on her day and she has drawn perfectly in barrier 3. She is a much bettter chance than her current price suggests.
Much like Spright Encryption has been threatening to win a Group 1 for quite some time now. Her runs throughout the Autumn were very good including a very narrow defeat in the group 1 Oakleigh plate at Caulfield. you will go broke quick backing horses like this and I’ve tended to stay away from her in the past. She is a horse that needs plenty to go her way and although she comes into the race with little weight on her back, I’m happy to risk her again.
Irithea is a very progressive mare who has managed seven wins from her 24 race starts to date. She will jump to the front from barrier 18 and with the light weight can be in the race for a long way. She is not without a chance to cling on to a place however I prefer others to be climbing over her late.
Pretty In Pink
Three year old’s have a very good record in the Stradbroke Handicap and Pretty in Pink comes into this contest having won against the older horses in the Moreton Cup at Doomben last weekend. The filly has drawn beautifully in barrier two and carries just the 49.5kgs into the race. One of the leading contenders in a very open race.
Tactical Advantage drops 5.5kgs for his solid effort behind The Bostonian in the Doomben 10,000 and he is not without a chance in the race should he gain a start. Drawn perfectly.
Streets Of Avalon
Streets Of Avalon will need two scratchings in order to gain a start in the 2019 Stradbroke Handicap
Ringerdingding is the third emergency for the 2019 Stradbroke Handicap.
Redouble is the fourth emergency for the 2019 Stradbroke Handicap.