Sydney’s Gerald Ryan has Group 1 ambitions for his Gold Coast Guineas winning colt Dothraki who he hopes to get into the Stradbroke Handicap 2014 field this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
The son of Mossman finally started to show off some of the class Ryan’s always known they had in them when they scored a long neck win over the Peter Snowden-trained Safeguard in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on the weekend.
It was their third run of the season following a third behind In Cahoots in the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) and their fifth to Sidestep when weakening late to miss out on the money in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight ago.
The honest galloper though atoned for those in the Gold Coast Guineas winning their first race since the Listed Hilton Hotels & Resorts Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
They’ll be up in distance again next start then as Ryan eyes a shot at the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 7, a race he’s always thought the youngster capable of running in.
“I have been saying all along he could be a Stradbroke horse as a three-year-old,” Ryan told The Australian.
To help get them into the field for Queensland’s richest race Ryan will run Dothraki in the $125,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) on Doomben Cup Day, May 17, and then again in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m).
The 2014 Queensland Guineas is held at Eagle Farm on Queensland Oaks Day, May 31, and offers a ballot exemption into the Stradbroke to the winner.
“We will run him in the Fred Best Classic and then the Queensland Guineas,” Ryan confirmed.
[“ltip text=Starting a roughie in the Stradbroke Handicap odds is an historical advantage with just one favourite winning the feature in the past 10 years”]
“The Guineas is ballot free for the Stradbroke Handicap so it is the right way for us to go.”
While Ryan will be hoping Dothraki wins the Guineas to assure them of a Stradbroke start, winning your lead-up run before the Group 1 has historically proved a disadvantage.
Since 1993 when Never Undercharge came via a Group 2 Adelaide win to take out the Straddie, the only other last start winner to take out the race was Linton last year.
There were 100 Stradbroke Handicap nominations taken when early entries for the feature closed last week.
Heading the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap odds then is fellow Sydney galloper Rebel Dane ($7), Gary Portelli’s four-year-old last seen running fifth in the All Aged Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on April 26.
They are joined at single figures by Rob Heathcote’s triple Group 1 winning local hero Buffering ($8) and fellow Queenslander Spirit Of Boom ($9) who ran second and fourth respectively behind upset winner Linton in last year’s Stradbroke.
Dothraki meanwhile can be found further down the markets paying $21 to score another upset Stradbroke Handicap result in 2014.
Favourites have a poor Stradbroke Handicap record in recent years however with just one saluting in the past decade when Black Piranha won their first in 2009.
They were 20-1 when they successfully defended their title in 2010 and since then the outsiders have saluted.
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