One of Sydney’s most respected trainers, Gai Waterhouse is hoping she can secure a chance of winning her maiden Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane next month with four-year-old Pureness to show their stuff at Scone this Friday.
Over a very successful training career spanning nearly 20 years, Waterhouse has prepared countless Group 1 winners but is as yet to enjoy success in Queensland’s premier sprint, the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
This year Waterhouse has five runners nominated for the Stradbroke Handicap, running at Eagle Farm on June 11, lead by last year’s Golden Rose runner-up Squamosa and four-year-old Pureness.
While Waterhouse has said Not A Single Doubt colt Squamosa is very close to resuming having been in the paddock since coming within a half-neck of Toorak Toff in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) last August, Tale Of The Cat gelding Pureness will put their Stradbroke claims on the line at Scone tomorrow.
“I’m delighted with him,” Waterhouse said of Squamosa who had an exhibition gallop at Randwick on Wednesday.
Squamosa, although high-up the early Stradbroke markets at $14, is unlikely to be ready in time for the feature.
“I’ll probably set him for the June Stakes (at Randwick on June 11) first-up,” Waterhouse said.
Pureness is further down the current Stradbroke Handicap odds at a quote of $21, but will get their chance to move up the markets with a successful performance in the $175,000 Listed Emirates Park Scone Cup (1600m).
With defending Scone Cup champion Keepin’ The Dream an early scratching from the race, Pureness is the $7.50 second favourite behind Lee Freedman’s Easter Cup runner-up Fanjura ($6).
After winning the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 26, Pureness ran a credible ninth to Sacred Choice in the Doncaster Mile beaten five lengths in their first Group 1 assignment on April 16.
Last start the gelding ran third to Keepin’ The Dream in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury and will look to step it up again in the Scone Cup.
“I’ve got Pureness going to Scone and he’ll be very competitive in the Cup,” Waterhouse said.
“He may go up for the Stradbroke.
“If he runs competitively…he’s nominated for the Stradbroke.”
Meanwhile, early Stradbroke Handicap favourite Sincero is also set to race at the two-day Scone Carnival.
Leading the Stradbroke odds at $4.80, the in-form son of Umatilla will look to add a sixth consecutive win to their name in the $250,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.