Next month’s Stradbroke Handicap is still a possibility for Tony Noonan’s classy Redoute’s Choice mare Varenna Miss after she scored a tidy victory for her Queensland race debut at Doomben on Saturday.
Resuming after a two month spell following an unplaced run in the Group 1 Sportingbet Classic in Adelaide, four-year-old Varenna Miss looked fresh and appreciated the step-back in class on Saturday.
After jumping from barrier one, $1.90 favourite Varenna Miss and jockey Jim Byrne went on to win the opening Doomben Cup Day event saluting in the $50,000 Act For Kids Handicap (1200m) three-quarters of a length ahead of Tierqualo ($6) while Robert Heathcote’s Sway To Go ($12) was a fast finishing third.
“It was just good to get her in a race she could win rather than just being one of the chances,” Noonan said.
Handling her first assignment racing right-handed, Varenna Miss still looked to have plenty left in the tank after her success on Saturday giving Noonan an indication she could be competitive in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next month.
“She got around the turn a little awkwardly, but it was her first run for a while,” Noonan said on Saturday.
“She probably wants further and her pedigree suggests she’ll get it.
“I bought her here for the Dane Ripper and then the Winter Stakes.
“But if she happened to win the Dane Ripper, we’ll give her a chance in the Stradbroke.
“She will be a lot better over the road (at Eagle Farm).”
The Group 2 Dane Ripper Quality (1400m) runs at Eagle Farm on June 4, one week before the Stradbroke, while the Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares is scheduled for June 25.
Varenna Miss is currently rated a $31 chance in the Stradbroke Handicap markets that are lead by gun three-year-old Sincero ($4.20) and John McNair’s champion Hay List ($5.50) who will first tackle the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) this weekend.
Lightly-raced for a four-year-old, Varenna Miss has now won four of her eight career starts for over $180,000 in prize money and Noonan’ excitement about her future is obvious.
“I think she’s got the makings of a very good mare later on,” Noonan said.
“She should be able to get 1600 metres and after this campaign she’ll go home and spell.
“Next autumn you’ll see a very good mare.”
The mare, however, must win either the Dane Ripper or the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) also held on June 4 to make the Stradbroke field.
Noonan faced a similar situation with his Testa Rossa mare Ortensia in the winter of 2009.
Ortensia ran and won the QTC Cup before going on to finish a game third behind Black Piranha in the Stradbroke Handicap.
She also contested last year’s Stradbroke but only beat home two other runners in the feature again won by Black Piranha – Con Karakatsanis’ veteran galloper set to attempt a third straight Stradbroke win this year.