Jockey Glen Boss is free to ride the favourite filly Srikandi in Saturday week’s Stradbroke Handicap 2014 after connections of his other possible mount Rebel Dane confirmed the booking of rival hoop Tommy Berry for the classic.
Rebel Dane’s trainer Gary Portelli gave up on playing the waiting game as Boss decided which of the two stars he would partner in this year’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
In a preemptive move form Portelli the Sydney-based trainer and connections made the call to Berry and booked him for their California Dane four-year-old who sits as second pick in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap betting markets.
“Unfortunately the situation was that Bossy came up with another nice filly this year,” Portelli told AAP.
“We were of the understanding he was booked for the preparation but then once this filly won he wanted to have a look at the weights before making his decision.
“We basically didn’t want to wait and miss out on Tommy.
“There was pressure coming from his side because obviously he was going to miss out on a ride in the race if we didn’t book him.
“The owners and myself made a decision that Tommy was the rider in the best form.
“He’s the new whiz kid and he’s riding with so much confidence. His style of riding is also one where he’s great at getting these horses coming from off the pace to get through fields.”
Berry is looking at an ace book of rides for Stradbroke Day too also booked to ride the Gai Waterhouse-trained Almalad in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) for the two-year-olds and Elusive Runner in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
“As a kid Tommy used to run around the streets with his pushbike and tell me he wanted to be apprenticed to me when he grew up,” Portelli added.
“I always thought he would be too big to be an apprentice.
“But he’s the best rider in Australia at the moment.”
Boss meanwhile rode both of the Stradbroke top fancies at Doomben Racecourse last Saturday, facing then a tough decision on who to stick with for Queensland’s richest race.
While keeping a tight lid on whether he believed Ciaron Maher’s three-year-old Dubawi filly was capable of improving enough to win the Stradbroke Handicap, rumours were he was leaning towards her over Rebel Dane.
Srikandi made it five straight wins, and six from seven career starts, on 10,000 Day when posting an easy victory over a field of fellow fillies and mares in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m).
Boss was aboard for that ride as well as her two other Queensland wins this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival where she’s carried between 54 – 57kg.
Not originally nominated for a shot at the Stradbroke, owners have confirmed they are paying the $23,000 late entry to get her into the race this year.
Stradbroke Handicap weights were released yesterday, but without a nomination Srikandi was not handicapped.
It is predicted however she’ll get around 50.5kg, a weight Boss will be fighting to get down to for the ride.
Rebel Dane meanwhile was allocated 56kg, going up to 56.5kg with the non-acceptance of the 59kg topweight Buffering so long as Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom accepts.
The weight allocated to his Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner was a little more than expected, but Portelli still rates Rebel Dane a top chance.
“I thought he might get in a bit lighter,” he said.
“He goes up half a kilo so at 56-1/2 he’s probably weighted right up to his best.”
The Tony Gollan-trained Spirit Of Boom won the Group 1 at Doomben last Saturday and looks in flying form to improve on their Stradbroke fourth last year.
Rebel Dane also ran in the 10,000 finishing three quarters of a length away fourth, with Boss aboard, in a fast finishing effort that saw them make up plenty of ground late.
Stradbroke Handicap first declarations are out tomorrow followed by the final field Wednesday week so stay tuned.
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