2013 Stradbroke Handicap Jockeys Take Shape

Which hoops will be aboard which horses in Saturday week’s highly-anticipated Stradbroke Handicap 2013 at Eagle Farm is starting to become clearer with a number of ace jockeys confirming rides in Queensland’s richest race.

Craig Newitt

Craig Newitt has secured a 2013 Stradbroke Handicap ride aboard Better Than Ready. Photo: Taron Clarke.

The latest rider bookings for the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 8 are Craig Newitt on the Kelly Schweider-trained local Better Than Ready and Hall of Famer Jim Cassidy on Fontelina.

More Than Ready colt Better Than Ready entered Stradbroke Handicap calculations two starts back when third to Your Song in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in the wet at Eagle Farm.

They backed up over the weekend and were far from disgraced when four lengths away fifth to Epaulette in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) ridden by their regular jockey Rick McMahon.

That victory saw Peter Snowden’s Golden Rose hero Epaulette, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy in the 10,000 who will retain the ride should connections decide to run Saturday week, shoot to the top of the Stradbroke Handicap betting markets paying $4.40.

Better Than Ready, allocated just 52.5kg for Saturday week, meanwhile is the $6 second pick for the Straddie with a distraught McMahon unavailable for next month’s feature due to suspension.

Also in the mix to replace McMahon on Better Than Ready was Craig Williams who failed to gain a release from his current contract riding in Japan.

As for Cassidy’s Stradbroke mount Fontelina, the Anthony Cummings-trained Testa Rossa four-year-old pays $16 in the future odds after their good win carrying 58kg to victory in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 18; they are allocated just 53.5kg for the Stradbroke.

Cassidy will be vying for his first Stradbroke win since riding Rough Habit for their consecutive wins in 1991 and 1992.

More Recently he rode the 1997 runner-up Quick Flick and a decade later was second again this time with Gold Edition behind Sniper’s Bullet (2007).

Cummings will likely be dually represented in the Stradbroke Handicap field 2013 with one time favourite Your Song ($8.50) still on track despite running sixth as the beaten favourite in the 10,000.

Your Song will be reunited with Peter Robl for the event after they missed the ride, Hugh Bowman taking over, due to suspension in the Doomben Group 1.

Also confirmed with a good ride in the race is Glen Boss who will partner with Guy Walter’s dual Group 1 winning mare Streama ($21) after riding her to an eye-catching fourth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).

Boss also made a special trip to Brisbane on Monday to partner with the Stratum four-year-old for a hitout at Doomben, the jockey happy with the way Streama worked with the blinkers on.

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