Two times defending Stradbroke Handicap Champion Black Piranha will be attempting to race into equine immortality when he lines up at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Seven horses have managed to win the Stradbroke twice, including Queensland legends of the turf Daybreak Lover and Rough Habit. However Black Piranha will become the only member of the three Stradbroke wins club if he salutes the judge on Saturday.
Trainer Con Karakatsanis has given his charge the same preparation that has worked for the past two years.
In 2009, Black Piranha finished a close second to Apache Cat in the Doomben 10,000 and then blitzed the field in the Stradbroke. Karakatsanis took the same approach last year and Black Piranha charged home to finish fourth behind Hot Danish in the Doomben 10,000, before going on to win his second Stradbroke. The same tactics have been applied this year. Black Piranha finished less than a length back in third in this year’s 10,000 in what shapes as an ominous warning to his Stradbroke competitors.
Karakatsanis has said that his horse is looking extremely well and is confident of another win in the 1400m Group One handicap.
“Even though he went into the Doomben 10,000 a bit underdone I knew how well he was going and that he was on target.
“I thought he ran really well in the Doomben 10,000 because it was always going to be hard for him.” Karakatsanis said.
Black Piranha has turned himself into something of a Stradbroke Handicap specialist. The seven year old has won just two races since February 2009, both of them have been Stradbroke Handicaps.
“Group One’s are so hard to win and you’ve got to get that luck, especially around a track like Doomben. But for him Eagle Farm is a different story. He’s had two starts there in the race for two wins and hopefully we can make it three on Saturday.” Karakatsanis said.
Black Piranha is currently down to carry 56kg in the Stradbroke, however weights will be raised 1kg when final acceptances are released because the top weight must carry at least 57kg in a Group One handicap race. In his last two wins Black Piranha has carried 55kg and 55.5kg.
If Black Piranha is to capture a third Stradbroke Handicap will have to carry more weight than any horse since Rough Habit won the second of his Stradbroke’s in 1992 with 58.5kg.
Tye Angland rode Black Piranha to the 2009 success while Nash Rawiller was in the hot seat last year. At this stage it is unclear who will partner Black Piranha in his attempt at history although it won’t be Nash Rawiller as he is committed to All Silent. Hugh Bowman rode the Black Piranha in the Doomben 10,000.
Black Piranha is currently rated a $6.50 second favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap. He is slightly shaded for favouritism by Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded who is currently listed at $5.00.