Following the Queensland Oaks Day race results from the weekend the final field for this Saturday’s major, the iconic 2013 Stradbroke Handicap, is beginning to take shape.
Local horseman Kelso Wood won’t only be happy with the fact his smart colt Sizzling ran the ideal lead-up with their Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) victory, but that his other hopeful Belltone has also now secured a start.
Brahms seven-year-old Belltone was on the edge of a start in the capacity 18-horse field for the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), one of three Group 1 showdowns at Eagle Farm Racecourse this weekend, sitting 18th on the Stradbroke Handicap order of entry.
With two races on Oaks Day offering a Stradbroke ballot exemption to the winner however there was a chance that Belltone could be pushed out of contention for their Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival grand final.
However the Queensland Guineas victory by their stablemate Sizzling, now $6 co second fancy in the Stradbroke Handicap odds, didn’t change the ballot as they were already inside the top 18.
The other ballot exemption race was then the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) won by Galah who isn’t a Stradbroke entry, the Peter Snowden-trained Redoute’s Choice four-year-old to be kept for other minor races.
Snowden however is already very well represented in this year’s Stradbroke preparing the current $5 favourite Epaulette who was last seen winning the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) by an easy two lengths on May 25.
Belltone then remains on the 18th line in the ballot.
It is also likely that with the defending Stradbroke Handicap winner Pear Tart (16th) to be retired the horse that is 19th on the ballot, the Noel Mayfield-Smith-trained Famous Seamus.
A $51 outside in the betting, Elusive City gelding Famous Seamus won back-to-back Listed features in Queensland earlier this season including the Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) on the Gold Coast but were found out in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 18 when 12th to Belltone, albeit beaten only four lengths.
Other horses meanwhile sitting just outside an assured spot on the Stradbroke ballot that will be waiting with fingers crossed for another non-acceptor inside that top 18 then include the Anthony Cummings-trained Fontelina (20th) and Snowden’s other hopeful Academus (21st).
Fontelina is currently rated a $19 chance for the race, the Testa Rossa four-year-olds’ last run being a Scone win in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) on May 18.
Cummings will also be represented in the Stradbroke Handicap field this year by $6 fancy Your Song.
The Fastnet Rock colt was former favourite in the futures markets after their emphatic first-up victory in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in the mud by five lengths on May 11.
They eased out in the markets however after running four lengths away sixth to Epaulette in the Doomben 10,000.
Lonhro three-year-old Academus, first-up winner of the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m), meanwhile missed out on the ballot exemption over the weekend when two lengths away fourth in the Guineas but Snowden is hoping they can sneak in.
“I think Academus would be a great chance in the Stradbroke dropping to 52kg,” Snowden said.
Connections of Hot Snitzel ($61) have also confirmed they will be paying the Stradbroke final acceptance this week despite their seventh in the QTC Cup, the Snitzel four-year-old beaten under a length but assured of a run sitting 14th on the ballot.
“At this stage we will be paying up for him,” their trainer Gerald Ryan said on Sunday.
See below for the latest 2013 Stradbroke Handicap ballot and entries.
Final acceptances for the classic are to be taken on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au.
2013 Stradbroke Handicap Ballot
|3||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||5||56kg|
|4||DECISION TIME||Clarry Conners||10||54.5kg|
|6||MY QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||7||54.5kg|
|8||HAPPY ZERO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||13||54kg|
|9||HOT SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||14||54kg|
|10||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||12||54kg|
|11||YOUR SONG||Anthony Cummings||2||54kg|
|13||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||19||53.5kg|
|16||BETTER THAN READY||Kelly Schweida||11||52.5kg|
|18||PHELAN READY||Jason McLachlan||25||52.5kg|
|19||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||22||52.5kg|
|20||SPIRIT SONG||Kelso Wood||8||52.5kg|
|21||STARTSMEUP||John, Daniel & Christopher Meagher||23||52.5kg|
|23||CELTIC DANCER||Noel J Doyle||28||52kg|
|24||JETSET LAD (NZ)||John Wheeler||35||52kg|
|25||LATIN NEWS||Bryan Dais||39||52kg|
|26||LISTEN SON||Tony Gollan||40||52kg|
|28||MISS STELLABELLE||Gai Waterhouse||31||52kg|
|29||PEAR TART||John P Thompson||16||52kg|
|30||SHE’S CLEAN||Chris Waller||26||52kg|
|32||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Mick Price||38||52kg|
|34||AL ANEED||Mick Price||33||50.5kg|
|37||FERMENT||John P Thompson||34||50.5kg|
|38||PERON||John P Thompson||37||50.5kg|
|39||REFLECTANCE||John P Thompson||36||50.5kg|