Chris Waller’s fillies dominate the nominations...
On Saturday Black Piranha awarded his trainer, Con Karakatsanis’s patience when he made it back-to-back success in Queensland’s richest sprint, the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Black Piranha had not won a race since his success in the Stradbroke last year, but Karakatsanis never gave up believing his talented six-year-old had what it takes to defend his title and take out successive Stradbroke Handicaps.
After having had no luck in his races over the past 12 months, Black Piranha showed promise in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) when he ran an eye-catching fourth to Hot Danish at Doomben last start.
On Saturday Black Piranha had been forgotten by the punters and went out at the generous odds of $21. Silencing his critics, the Clang gelding was back to his best and was able to defeat Gerald Ryan’s classy filly Melito ($5.50) by just a short half-head in the final stride, while Mic Mac ($21) ran a gallant third a further long head away.
It was an extremely close finish as less than two lengths separated the first seven runners, with the Peter Snowden-trained Beaded ($18) finishing fourth a mere short-half-head back from Mic Mac, and Albert The Fat ($26) was impressive coming from well back to run fifth.
After jumping from barrier two, Black Piranha settled well back in the field as $71 long shot King Mufhasa got to the front early and set the pace. At the 800m mark eventual fourth placegetter Beaded stormed across the field after jumping wide from barrier 15 to settle second behind the leader, while Melito was sitting nicely just off the pace.
With 600m to go Black Piranha was sitting at the very back of the pack, as jockey Nash Rawiller waited patiently for the right moment to make their move, after being pushed wide on the home turn by Whobegotyou. At the 200m mark King Mufhasa and Beaded battled it out at the front of the field, but those further back began to move up.
Black Piranha started to come through on the outside, along with the hot favourite Whobegotyou ($3.50) who could only manage to finish 11th. Melito looked the winner after she came storming through the middle of the field to take the lead, but in an explosive final burst Black Piranha dug deep and edged her out to secure victory.
It was another close and frustrating result for Redoute’s Choice filly Melito, who since winning the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 10 has raced in four Group 1 events coming up with three seconds and a third. Gerald Ryan will next start her in the Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm in a fortnight.
Black Piranha has now won eight and placed in 16 of his 46 career starts collecting an impressive $2,514,155 in prizemoney. On Saturday he became the seventh horse to claim consecutive Stradbroke Handicaps, the first since Rough Habit in 1991-92.
He will now head to the paddock for a spell before embarking on a third Stradbroke Handicap campaign next season.
Jockey Nash Rawiller’s success in the Stradbroke added to a sensational winter season of racing headlined by nine Group 1 victories, including his other big win on Saturday aboard Pressday in the Group 1 T J Smith (1600m).
Other quality events at the Eagle Farm meeting included the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) where the Bart Cummings-trained Dariana atoned for her bad manners in the Queensland Oaks by claiming an empathic 4 ½ length victory, the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) won by Crossthestart, and the $250,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) where Gerald Ryan’s odds-on favourite Rothesay secured victory.
Stradbroke Handicap Day marked the official end of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, with the next Group 1 race scheduled for Saturday week when Eagle Farm holds the Winter Stakes. Make sure you don’t miss out on the betting action of Winter Stakes Day by heading to Ladbrokes.com.au today!
2010 Stradbroke Handicap Results
|Con Karakatsanis||N Rawiller||$21||–|
|Gerald Ryan||C Brown||$5.50||0.1|
|Paul Messara||S Scriven||$21||0.3|
|Peter Snowden||K McEvoy||$18||0.4|
ALBERT THE FAT
|Eden Petrie||D Browne||$26||1.7|
|Stephen McKee||S Seamer||$26||1.8|
KING MUFHASA (NZ)
|Stephen McKee||S C Spratt||$71||1.9|
MR BARITONE (NZ)
|Michael Moroney||J Ford||$26||3.5|
|Jason McLachlan||S Katsidis||$41||3.8|
|Chris Waller||T Bell||$17||4.0|
|Mark Kavanagh||M Rodd||$3.50F||4.3|
|Mark Kavanagh||L Nolen||$8||4.4|
|David Pfieffer||G Boss||$8.50||4.5|
|Bart Cummings||C Newitt||$6.50||4.8|
|Gillian Heinrich||C Lindop||$51||7.0|
|Tony Noonan||C Williams||$12||7.5|
|Anthony Cummings||D Nikolic||$201||9.0|
|Bart Cummings||J C Maskiell||$71||11.0|
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