This Saturday Queensland’s richest race will steal the show at Eagle Farm with the Stradbroke Handicap 2013 featuring a star-studded line-up of gallopers after the juicy $1 million first prize – the Races.com.au team’s insider betting tips and selections detailed below.
Running as Race 8 at 3:40pm (AEST) a capacity field of 18 starters plus five emergencies are engaged to face off in the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Five of those are under double figures in the Stradbroke Handicap odds including the $4.80 top fancy Your Song tipped to bounce back from their last start sixth in the Doomben 10,000 and return to their BTC Cup winning form.
Following the Anthony Cummings-trained Your Song, who looks an especially good chance should the rain fall after their BTC Cup victory on a mud Eagle Farm track, is then Queensland Guineas winner from last Saturday Sizzling.
The Kelso Wood-trained Sntizel colt was a Group 1 winner on Straddie Day 12 months ago taking out the TJ Smith and connections are hoping they can repeat that feat this year despite their wide gate and short seven day back up.
Other single figure fancies are then Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette ($7) who has a hefty 56kg weight to overcome, the Rob Heathcote-trained Group 1 maiden Buffering ($8.50) and fellow local hope Better Than Ready ($8.50) drawn wide but getting in superbly in the weights with just 52.5kg.
So are these runners under $10 really the ones to lock into all your Stradbroke Handicap exotics?
Or can a longer priced hopeful score a boil over Stradbroke Handicap result such as the underrated Heathcote Group 1 winner Solzhenitsyn ($18), consistent mare Streama ($15) or Kelso Wood’s other runner Belltone ($18) drawn to perfection with barrier three?
Earlier we published our exclusive 2013 Stradbroke Handicap Form Guide & Betting Preview and based on the facts and stats we uncovered there, below are our tips for the weekend’s big one.
#17 Better Than Ready ($8.50)
- Nice price as they have been beaten last two and drawn wide here
- Think they can overcome both of those facts and score an upset
- One of the best weighted of the ace three-year-olds looking to continue the good form of their age group this season getting in with just 52.5kg, a big drop from the 57kg they had on their back when four lengths away fifth in the Doomben 10,000 last start
- Doomben 10,000 has produced seven of the past 10 Stradbroke winners, none completing the double however including last year when Mid Summer Music improved on her ninth to win the big one at Eagle Farm
- Before that was third in the BTC Cup doing well to stay in touch on a Heavy (9) track
- Eagle Farm winner three back in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate carrying 57kg albeit only over the 1000m
- Boasts the highest Win Rate of the field (50%) and the second best Place Rate (75%)
- Loves it at Eagle Farm too (5-3-1-1)
#8 Your Song ($4.80)
- Forgive last start in the Doomben 10,000 (4 lengths away sixth), Peter Robl will ride them better than Bowman and have them off the speed
- Five length winner of the BTC Cup before that first-up at Eagle Farm
- Drawn better here (11) after jumping from 15 of 15 in the Doomben 10,000
- Drops back from 57kg to 54kg too which they will appreciate
- Get behind for the win if the rain comes
#3 Solzhenitsyn ($18)
- Adds awesome value to the winning Stradbroke Handicap trifecta and really think they’re over the odds
- Drawn wide (17 into 13) but double digit gates have produced five Straddie winners in the past 10 years so not a concern
- Carries 56kg which may be a lot of weight for some other horses but not this one as they come back 3kg from their last start
- The forgotten Heathcote horse in the mix with more attention on Buffering who comes off a Doomben 10,000 third
- Good record at Eagle Farm (5-2-1-1) and really loves the 1400m (9-5-1-2)
- Won’t handle a slow track but Dead rating is ideal (6-3-1-1)
- Comes off a close last start win over the Doomben mile in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup so will appreciate drop back in distance
- Group 1 winner of the Toorak Handicap in Melbourne last spring so has class
Other ‘Roughie’ We Like
#15 Fontelina ($15)
- Winner at Scone in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) last start, the form of which has been holding up
- During the spring was competitive winning the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes at Flemignton and their last start effort was a big improvement on recent runs
- Carried 58kg to score at Scone and down to 53kg on Saturday has to be considered an Each Way chance
- Barrier (4) looks a big advantage and Jim Cassidy riding is another plus as he has won two previous Stradbrokes
- Handles the distance well (4-2-1-0)
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