It has been 20 years since a Stradbroke Handicap winner came off a last start victory but on Saturday there are some talented gallopers out to break the hoodoo in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival classic including the Kelso Wood-trained local Sizzling.
The three-year-old son of Snitzel did everything right this time last year winning all four of their Queensland carnival assignments including the Group 1 The TJ Smith (1600m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day.
Between then and now they’ve had plenty of success including their close second in the Magic Millions Guineas back in January.
But after two below par effort upon returning this time in it was their smart win in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) last Saturday that put them back into the mix for the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap over the same track and distance this weekend.
Sizzling will again be ridden by ace Brisbane jockey Chris Munce on Saturday but not everything is going exactly to plan.
Firstly while the Queensland Guineas win was a nice confidence boosted, history says that Stradbroke Handicap winners don’t come off victories with the last to do so being Never Undercharge back in 1993.
There’s also their nasty barrier 18 (into 14 with emergencies out) draw to overcome and a crack field of rivals that come through the traditional Doomben 10,000 lead-up including the Peter Snowden-trained winner Epaulette ($7) and the always-honest third placed Buffering ($8.50).
But Wood is confident his young gun can handle the seven day back-up insisting they are on track for another win over the same course and distance but this time at elite level.
“He backed up from 1400 metres to a mile last year and it never worried him,” Wood said this week.
“This week he’s just trot and cantered with a little bit of pacework. He doesn’t need anymore, he’s a fit horse.”
For the Guineas their improved effort was accredited to the addition of blinkers to their gear upon the request of Munce, and they stay on for the Stradbroke.
“The blinkers have switched him on a bit more at the start and when he gets travelling you can make a long run on him,” Wood said.
“Chris (Munce) rode him aggressively and made a long, searching run which he needs to do.
“The further he goes the better he gets.”
#18 Sizzling – Horse Form
- Barrier: 18 (into 14)
- Jockey: Chris Munce
- Trainer: Kelso Wood
- Owners: Mr D H T Devine, Mrs D M Devine, Mr M C Power, Mrs D M Power, Mr N Morgan, Mrs J G Morgan, Mr L R Matthews
- Age: 3YO
- Gender: Colt
- Breeding: by Snitzel from Admirelle
- Career: 16-7-4-0
- Win: 43.75%
- Place: 68.75%
- Last 6: 22×561
- Prize Money: $1,289,250
- Track: 6-5-1-0
- Distance: 5-2-2-0
- Current 2013 Stradbroke Handicap Odds: $5.50
Yes – Sizzling Can Win the Stradbroke Handicap 2013
- History says a double-digit barrier isn’t so bad with five of the past 10 Stradbroke Handicap winners jumping from wide gates including two from 18
- Regular rider Chris Munce stays on; Munce is equal most successful jockey in this race with two wins from 16 rides in the past three decades
- Three-year-olds look the ones to beat in the race and their form this season has stood up time and time again over older gallopers in the Group 1s
- Is a specialist at Eagle Farm boasting five wins and a second from their six starts at the track – the best of any Saturday’s runners
- Also good record over the 1400m with two wins and two seconds from five starts
- Ultra consistent horse with the third highest Win Rate of the field (43.75%) behind only #17 Better Than Ready (50%) and #2 Epaulette (45.45%)
- Were impressive taking out the Group 2 Queensland Guineas over the same track and distance last Saturday
- That was their second win over the 1400m at Eagle Farm from as many starts
- Group 1 winner at Eagle Farm last winter in the TJ Smith as a juvenile
No – Sizzling Won’t be the 2013 Stradbroke Handicap Winner
- Will need pace and luck from their wide barrier
- Needs to handle a seven day back-up after a good win here last Saturday
- Their last start victory statistically makes them a bad bet however as no Stradbroke winner has come off a victory in the past 20 years
- Really class Stradbroke field after that $1 million first prize and plenty of dangerous rivals here
Sizzling wins but you were on one of the interstate raiders instead? Never fear, bookmaker.com.au is running an excellent Stradbroke Handicap Money Back Offer for the weekend refunding bets up to $100 on raiders that run 2nd or 3rd behind a Queensland-trained hopeful!