2013 Stradbroke Handicap Possibility for Festival Stakes Defector

Scone trainer Paul Messara has named the Stradbroke Handicap 2013 next Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival as a possible target for his Sandown Stakes winner Mahisara who won’t be accepted for the Festival Stakes in Sydney this weekend.


Sandown Stakes winner Mahisara will be sent to the paddock to prepare for a 2013 Stradbroke Handicap campaign

One of 26 original nominees for Rosehill’s $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) this Saturday, in-form More Than Ready four-year-old Mahisara will not continue on with a summer carnival campaign.

Messara will instead send the stallion, last seen winning their sixth race from 15 starts in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) on November 17, out for a well-earned break before bringing them back in the autumn.

Looking further ahead and if the horse continues the good form next year they have displayed this time in, Messara will consider a trip to Queensland for the state’s richest race – the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8, 2012.

“We’ll probably give him a month off and then head towards the late autumn and also Queensland,” Messara said.

“A race like the Stradbroke at the back-end of the Queensland winter carnival is a possibility.”

While Mahisara will be absent from the Sydney racing scene on Saturday Messara will still be represented at the Rosehill meeting by his promising Hussonet mare Secluded.

The four-year-old is nominated for the $85,000 Fillies & Mares Benchmark 80 Handicap (1500m) which will be her first look at further than 1350m, apprentice hoop Sam Clipperton booked for the ride.

She has raced over the 1350m at her two most recent runs, both at Rosehill, finishing a close second both times when defeated by a mere short half-head firstly to Classics and then to Rose Pattern last month.

“Had she won her last two, where she’s only been beaten a short-head, then we would be pretty happy with how her preparation has gone,” Messara said.

“She’s only just missed out and I think she should have won last start.

“I’m testing her over 1500 metres for the first time but I’m confident she’ll get the 1500.

“It will be interesting to see how she copes with the distances around a mile, but she’s been working very well and I’m very happy with her.”

A stellar run on Saturday from Secluded, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Melito, and Messara will continue backing her up in the popular $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick farm on December 22, a race on the agenda for the bulk of the Festival Stakes hopefuls.

“She would have to run really well (on Saturday) but I guess it’s a possibility if we want to head in that direction,” he said.

“I think she’s going to be a stakes horse in time, it’s just a matter of whether she needs a bit more experience before she gets there.”

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