Jockey Craig Newitt is confident he is on the right horse in this Saturday’s 2013 Stradbroke Handicap declaring Better Than Ready as the horse to beat in the $1.36 million feature with their advantageous 52.5kg lightweight.
Of the horses vying for a run in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on the weekend, Kelly Schweida’s locally trained More Than Ready colt Better Than Ready is one of the top fancies.
Latest Stradbroke Handicap odds have Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette rated the $5 favourite to score back-to-back Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Group 1’s for Sydney trainer Peter Snowden.
Better Than Ready meanwhile occupies the second line of betting at $6 equal with both Kelso Wood’s impressive Queensland Guineas winner Sizzling and the Anthony Cummings-trained Your Song who beat their older rivals first-up in an impressive effort in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on a Heavy (9) Eagle Farm track on May 11.
Better Than Ready is also part of this outstanding crop of three-year-olds dominating the Group 1’s, out to become the ninth individual Group 1 winner of that age against older company this season.
A winner of six of their 12 career assignments so far including dual stakes races this year, most recently the Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1000m) at Eagle Farm on April 20, Better Than Ready has been ridden by Rick McMahon for all but two of their starts.
Newitt, who guided the Danny O’Brien-trained O’Reilly three-year-old Shamexpress to their narrow Group 1 Newmarket Handicap victory at Flemington back in March, however will take over for the Stradbroke on Saturday.
He is bullish over his chances too despite Better Than Ready having been beaten by many of these same opponents when third in the BTC Cup and fifth in the Doomben 10,000.
“He’ll be very hard to beat with 52-1/2 kilos,” Newitt said of the horse that holds the 1200m Randwick race record for their blistering 1:08.19 effort to win the Listed Crowley Stakes over 1200m last October.
“He meets a lot of them a lot better at the weights.”
The hoop also believes the step up to the 1400m will work in his mount’s favour with the only query being the track conditions with the continued rain in Brisbane.
“His run the other day (in the Doomben 10,000) was good and he’s probably looking for the 1400 metres now,” Newitt said.
“The only query is probably how much rain they get, but he’s got to be a leading chance.”
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