While happy with the weight handed to his BTC Cup winner Sea Siren, Randwick horseman John O’Shea has been left fuming over the handicap and ballot position for his other Stradbroke Handicap 2012 hopeful Colorado Claire.
Fastnet Rock filly Sea Siren is the $9 second elect behind the Peter Snowden-trained Mental ($8) through bookmaker.com.au to win the $1 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 after her impressive victory in the BTC Cup at Doomben last Saturday.
Setting a new race record, and beating the previous by a smart .29 seconds, Sea Siren has been allocated two kilos above the minimum with 52.5kg for the Stradbroke which was about what O’Shea was expecting.
She could still be penalised however if she goes on to win the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on Saturday week which she is the $6.50 second pick to do so through bookmaker.com.au behind withdrawn BTC Cup favourite Buffering ($3.70).
If she wins the Doomben 10,000 and cops a penalty she is unlikely to be in a position weight wise to win the Stradbroke and O’Shea probably won’t accept for her.
“She will run in the Doomben 10,000 but if she wins that she can get another penalty and it would be hard to see a three-year-old filly winning a Stradbroke with any more weight than she has already,” he said.
Three fillies have won the Stradbroke Handicap over the years but none carried more than 50kg with the O’Shea-trained Private Steer (48kg / 2003), La Montagna (48.5kg / 2006) and Dane Ripper (50kg / 1997).
O’Shea was then banking on still having a Stradbroke contender in the tank with Colorado Claire and he isn’t impressed with where his Hussonet filly is at ahead of the race, but not because of anything amiss with the horse.
The three-year-old improved on her Canberra Guineas eighth to beat a crack field in open-sex company in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.
In the Phar Lap Colorado Claire beat the likes of Rekindled Alliance, Wild And Proud and subsequent Hawkesbury Guineas champ Free Wheeling, the victory her fifth from seven starts to date.
Despite that win Colorado Claire is in doubt of getting a start in the Stradbroke Handicap field after weights for the classic were released on Monday.
She currently sits 38th in the Stradbroke Handicap ballot, led by Sea Siren and David Payne’s TJ Smith Stakes winner but doubtful acceptor Master Of Design, having been given the 50.5kg minimum.
“Fancy beating the colts in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes and not getting a start in the Stradbroke,” O’Shea said.
“It is the most abstract handicapping system in the country.
“The horse I have that should be in the race with the right weight (Colorado Claire) is not even guaranteed a start.”
Current Stradbroke favourite Mental (50th) and $10 third pick Pampelonne (43rd) are in the same boat ballot and weight wise as Colorado Claire and will attempt to move up the order of entry by racing this weekend.
Mental runs in the $125,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben while the Tim Martin-trained Gosford Guineas winner Pampelonne shoots for their third win on the trot in the $500,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m) at Scone on Saturday.
Colorado Claire is also set to run in the Scone Guineas against Pampelonne, an event won 12 months ago by last year’s Stradbroke Handicap champ Sincero.
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