The race to make the final field for the sunshine state’s richest sprint, the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap, is heating up with the list of hopefuls cut to 44 on Wednesday morning with first acceptances taken.
Stephen Farley’s boom three-year-old Sincero remains the dominant favourite to win the Group 1, 1400m feature at Eagle Farm Saturday week.
Currently paying $5 to become this year’s Stradbroke Handicap winner, Umatilla gelding Sincero has won his past six races on the trot including the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) by an easy five lengths on Anzac Day and most recently the $250,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas over the mile at Scone on May 14.
Sincero, however, is still not guaranteed a start in the Stradbroke sitting 19th in the order of entry on the minimum 49.5kg weight.
This Saturday at Queensland Oaks Day, Sincero will attempt to earn an exemption by winning the $175,000 Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) and after coming up trumps with barrier one they have genuine claims to do so.
There is still a chance that Sincero will still get to line-up in the Stradbroke even without winning the QTC Cup if there are horses not accepted higher up the order of entry.
“The Stradbroke is falling away a bit and he might make it into the field without having to earn an exemption by winning on Saturday,” Farley said.
“I think he is sitting around 18th or 19th in the order of entry.”
The QTC Cup is the final race offering a ballot exemption into the Stradbroke field.
Earlier races that offered the same were the BTC Cup won by non-acceptor and superstar Black Caviar and the Doomben 10,000 held last weekend where Beaded snared a win.
Other top elects from the remaining Stradbroke entries include Love Conquers All ($6), Beaded ($6), Black Piranha ($7) and Woorim ($8).
Mossman four-year-old Love Conquers All burst into Stradbroke contention with their eye-catching second, defeated a nose by Beaded in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) last Saturday.
Love Conquers All is allocated just 53.5kg for the Stradbroke, a very advantageous drop back in weight from the 59kg they carried in the 10,0000.
Meanwhile, Peter Snowden’s ultra competitive Lonhro mare Beaded earned a 1.5kg penalty for her breakthrough Group 1 win in the Doomben 10,000 last Saturday, now to carry 53kg as she attempts back-to-back elite level victories in Brisbane.
With Love Conquers All now set to meet Beaded much better in the weights for round two, Racing Queensland handicapper Nathan Bourke defended the penalty decision and allocation.
“Obviously Love Conquers All will meet her (Beaded) better, but we can’t be mindful of just the one horse,” Bourke said.
Defending Stradbroke Handicap champion Black Piranha, Con Karakatsanis’s veteran seven-year-old vying for an unparalleled third straight Stradbroke success, is the 56kg topweight of the contenders.
The Clang gelding showed good form when finishing less than a length away third to Beaded in the 10,000.
Leading the local contingent for this year’s Straddie is the Robert Heathcote-trained Woorim, the last of the first acceptors paying single figure odds in the market.
Allocated 52kg for the million dollar showdown, Show A Heart five-year-old Woorim most recently claimed a gritty win in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben carrying 56kg putting his Stradbroke claims on display.
The final acceptances for the 2011 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap close next Wednesday, June 8.
First acceptances for the two other Stradbroke Handicap Day Group 1 features, the Queensland Derby and The TJ Smith, also closed this morning.
Thirty-five three-year-olds remain on the hunt for a start in the $500,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) while just 19 juveniles were paid up for at first acceptance stage for the $500,000 TJ Smith (1600m).
2011 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap First Acceptors
|1||BLACK PIRANHA||Con Karakatsanis||56kg|
|2||ALL SILENT||Grahame Begg||55kg|
|3||SNIPER’S BULLET||Tracey Bartley||55kg|
|4||LOVE CONQUERS ALL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||53.5kg|
|6||BORDER REBEL||Sue Grills||52.5kg|
|8||RIGHTFULLY YOURS||Mick Price||52kg|
|10||RAFFAELLO||Patrick F Ryan||51.5kg|
|11||THANKGODYOU’REHERE||Patrick & Wayne Webster||51.5kg|
|13||BLAZING HEARTS||Danny J Bougoure||51kg|
|16||CULMINATE (NZ)||Darren Weir||51kg|
|18||DANE JULIA (SAF)||Lee Freedman||51kg|
|20||FIFTEEN CARAT||Howard Wilson||51kg|
|21||GOOD MEDICINE||David Kelly||51kg|
|22||HURTLE MYRTLE||Matthew Smith||51kg|
|23||KING PULSE||Michael Moroney||51kg|
|24||LADYS ANGEL||Joseph Pride||51kg|
|25||LISTEN SON||Tony Gollan||51kg|
|26||MARQUARDT (NZ)||John P Thompson||51kg|
|27||MEET GEORGE||Brian Smith||51kg|
|29||MR UNFORGETTABLE||Kevin Moses||51kg|
|30||STAR OF OCTAGONAL||Todd Howlett||51kg|
|31||STEEL LIPS||Steele Ryan||51kg|
|33||VARENNA MISS||Tony Noonan||51kg|
|34||ZERO ROCK||Kelso Wood||51kg|
|37||CELTIC DANCER||Noel J Doyle||49.5kg|
|38||CURTANA||Peter G Moody||49.5kg|
|42||SKATING ON ICE||Les Kelly||49.5kg|
|43||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||49.5kg|
|44||TORIO’S QUEST||Brett Partelle||49.5kg|