It is shaping-up as a huge year for Benjamin...
They are one of the forgotten horses in this Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap 2013 but their trainer Clarry Conners believes Decision Time has what it takes to give the favourites a run for their money in Queensland’s premier race.
The Foreplay five-year-old is assured of a start in the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) sitting 11th on the ballot for the Eagle Farm feature.
They are however an $81 roughie in the Stradbroke Handicap odds which are led by Peter Snowden’s Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette ($5).
A winner of eight of their 20 career starts to date Decision Time was last seen running a brave third behind Fontelina, a $19 chance in the Stradbroke despite the fact the Anthony Cummings-trained galloper could only be an emergency sitting 20th on the order of entry, in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone on May 18.
In the Luskin Star where they finished under two lengths off the winner Decision Time carried a hefty 60.5kg and will appreciate the drop back to just 54.5kg for the Stradbroke.
Their nice last start effort and the advantageous weight in the Group 1 make Decision Time worth a look-in according to Conners who is seeking atonement after his Crown Oaks winning filly Dear Demi finished a well beaten seventh to Gondokoro as the beaten favourite in last weekend’s Queensland Oaks.
“He ran third at Scone but he was too far back with the heavy weight,” Conners said.
“He had to shoulder his way to get out and kept coming to the line. He ran a great race I thought.
“I think the Stradbroke will suit him down to the ground. And he is nicely in at the weights.”
The gelding has Group 1 form having finished third behind Bel Sprinter and Snitzerland in The Galaxy at Rosehill back in March and also finished a close second to the ill-fated Crystal Lily in the 2010 Golden Slipper during their outstanding juvenile season that saw them win their opening four career starts.
Also during their 2010-11 campaign Decision Time finished fourth beaten less than a length by Toorak Toff in the Golden Rose before winning their next four starts including the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1400m) and the Group 3 Concord Stakes (1100m).
They haven’t won a race since the Concorde in September of 2011 however having spent a year and a half on the sidelines before resuming in March of this year with a good second in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) to Snitzerland.
While they have had glimpses of form and there are some boxes they tick, there are also some real queries about how Decision Time will handle this field and the step up to 1400m which they have never seen before.
But despite all of that Conners, who prepared the 1999 Stradbroke third placegetter Staging, believes this year’s Stradbroke is one of the weaker editions of the classic and he believes his horse is as good a chance as any.
“I certainly don’t know if it is as good a Stradbroke as I’ve seen,” he said.
“I don’t know if it’s an overly strong race. I think Decision Time is at least the equal to most of the other runners in it.”
The 2013 Stradbroke Handicap final field will be released on Wednesday and published right here a Races.com.au so stay tuned.
In the meantime if you think Decision Time at $81 is worth a sneaky bet then head to bookmaker.com.au and check out their pre-field markets on the three Group 1’s this weekend in Brisbane.
New to sign-up and deposit with bookmaker.com.au? Make sure you also quote the code BONUSBET to unlock your $500 bonus welcome bet!
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