Sydney trainer Grahame Begg is fully aware of the challenge race favourite Beaded will bring in the Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday, but after a solid track workout on Tuesday by his galloper All Silent he hasn’t conceded to defeat just yet.
A capacity field of sprinters were accepted for Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm this morning, with the Peter Snowden-trained mare Beaded the pre-draw favourite following her victory in the Doomben 10,000 last start.
While mares have a dismal record in the Stradbroke, no mare having won the lucrative feature since 1936, rival trainer Begg admitted earlier in the week that Lonhro five-year-old Beaded certainly boasted the credentials to salute on Saturday.
“I know it’s a huge record to overturn but Beaded showed last year (when a close fourth in the 2010 Stradbroke to Black Piranha) she is right up there,” Begg admitted.
“She has been tremendously consistent in all the big races she has contested.
“There is no doubt the Doomben 10,000 form should be the best line for the Stradbroke.
“So Beaded has to be one of the best chances as are the other two placegetters from the 10,000 (Love Conquers All and Black Piranha).”
Begg came close to a Stradbroke Handicap win back in 2005 when his former South African mare Perfect Promise ran second to St Basil, and earlier in 1998 when his horse Monopolize was runner-up to Toledo.
While the test will be tough for Begg’s rising eight-year-old gelding All Silent, he saw enough from the horse when they worked on Tuesday morning to suggest they will race with gusto and possibly end with glory in the Stradbroke.
“He has always been an ordinary worker,” Begg said.
“It is extremely frustrating, a dual Group 1 winner and you’d like them to give you something.”
Racing third-up on Saturday, All Silent most recently finished five lengths away sixth to Beaded in the Doomben 10,000 and Begg is expecting improvement from them after the run.
“I thought the horse was a tad disappointing in the 10,000 the other day, but he did get pushed out wide at the turn,” Begg said.
“He finished under the arches, and it was run at a pedestrian pace.
“There is always good speed in the Stradbroke, and that’s when we’ve seen the best of my horse, when the speed is on.”
Begg had to make the tough decision back in 2009 to miss the Stradbroke with then race-favourite All Silent due to the heavy track conditions.
“The last time, he needed a set of skies to get around, it was horrendous,” Begg said of All Silent’s 2009 workout ahead of his Stradbroke scratching.
“On the Tuesday when he worked (in 2009), he was up to his knees in it.
“The track was bottomless, a bog.
“I pulled the pin, didn’t pay up the next day.
“I wasn’t going to put myself through the agony.
“The punters didn’t need it, and the horse always comes first at our place.”
Although much happier after this Tuesday’s workout, hopes for All Silent have lowered with the predicted wet track at Eagle Farm this Saturday.
“My horse wants a dry track and the tempo strong which it usually is in a Stradbroke,” he said.
“He just doesn’t handle a wet track.”
The other horse Begg tipped as a danger was the Robert Heathcote-trained Woorim.
“Apart from them (the Doomben 10,000 placegetters) I think Woorim has a chance if he gets a dry track and a clear run,” Begg said.
Show A Heart five-year-old Woorim showed their Stradbroke claims when holding off Listen Son in a gritty half-head victory in the Group 3 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 21.
However, with Heathcote saying Woorim also needed a dry track to perform at their best, odds on the horse to overcome the likes of Beaded are likely to drift as the rain rolls in.
“I’m happy with him, I just want the rain to stay away,” Heathcote said of Woorim on Tuesday.