This morning Racing Queensland took first acceptances for the Stradbroke Handicap 2014 with 30 gallopers left in the mix for the state’s richest race.
Originally there were 100 nominations taken for this year’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), running at Eagle Farm Saturday week.
Now less than half that remain in Stradbroke Handicap calculations, looking for a spot in the capacity 18-starter line-up.
As expected Rob Heathcote’s triple Group 1 winner Buffering was not accepted for after being allocated the 59kg top-weight when Stradbroke Handicap weights came out on Monday.
The withdrawal of the local champ will see the weights raised half a kilo then when the field comes out next week.
New top-weight is then Tony Gollan’s brilliant Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom who will go up to 58kg if accepted for the final field.
The Sequalo six-year-old became a dual Group 1 winner last weekend running down Buffering to score the 10,000 trophy in an effort they’ll be out to repeat in the Stradbroke which they’ve run in the past two years.
In 2012 Spirit Of Boom was sixth to Mid Summer Music, returning last year for a close fourth behind upset winner Linton.
Gollan could also be represented by the other half of his Doomben 10,000 quinella with Victory Stakes winner Temple Of Boom also still in the Stradbroke mix currently sitting seventh on the order of entry.
Spirit Of Boom is one of three horses equal first in the order of entry exempt from Stradbroke Handicap ballot along with Noel Mayfield-Smith’s BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus and the Wez Hunter-trained Smokin’ Joey.
Hawkesbury-trained Famous Seamus scored an upset as a $21 chance in the BTC Cup before a disappointing ninth in the Doomben 10,000 last weekend.
Smokin’ Joey meanwhile comes into the race on the back of a surprise Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) win in Adelaide from May 10 where they jumped as a $41 roughie.
The Encosta De Lago six-year-old trialled at Cranbourne on Monday running a nice third with Hunter excited over their Stradbroke chances.
The big entry into the Stradbroke Handicap meanwhile is the Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi who is hot favourite to win.
The Dubawi filly was not among the original nominations but connections paid a $23,000 late entry fee to get the three-year-old into the race on the back of her string of winter wins.
After debuting in Queensland three back with an easy Listed Silk Stocking (1200m) success on the Gold Coast, Srikandi impressed again when beating home the girls by another good margin in the Listed Junamo Stakes (1200m).
She then backed up and ran again last Saturday with a Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) victory, jockey Glen Boss aboard for all three runs.
Boss stays on the filly in the Stradbroke Handicap where she’ll be making a huge leap in class up to Group 1 open company, Srikandi getting in on the 50.5kg minimum and now assured of a start.
The other horse Boss had the chance to ride in the major and second favourite in Stradbroke Handicap betting is then Rebel Dane, Gary Portelli’s Sydney raider having run a luckless fourth in the Doomben 10,000.
They’ll be better suited to the roomier Eagle Farm track, but Portelli knows that with 56.5kg they’ll need a good barrier and plenty of luck in the run.
“The weights say that it is hard for us, no horse was won with more than 56 ever, but I am worried about drawing a barrier than carrying more weight,” Portelli told Sky Racing HQ.
“If you do have a gate that is borderline you need to have the best run in the race and if you draw a bad gate with big weights than you are in trouble.”
This weekend a number of Stradbroke Handicap chances will have their final lead-ups in either the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) or the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m).
Some of the pressure on those hopefuls who previously needed to win to get into the Group 1 has been released however with so many Straddie hopes dropping off at first declaration stage.
Among the Queensland Guineas hopes still in Stradbroke calculations include Dothraki, Hucklebuck, Into The Red and Havana.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Gold Coast Guineas winner Dothraki is assured of a Straddie run as is Phillip Stokes’ Adelaide-trained three-year-old Hucklebuck, the pair having run third and fourth respectively in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic last start.
Fred Best winner Havana and runner-up Into The Red are then just outside the first 18 sitting 22 and 23 in the ballot.
Other notable omissions along with Buffering then include dual Group 1 winner Platelet, the Joe Pride-trained Tiger Tees, Gai Waterhouse’s Robert Sangster Stakes winner Driefontein, Tattersall’s Tiara-bound Commanding Jewel and the Gerald Ryan-trained Hot Snitzel.
See below for the full Stradbroke Handicap 2014 first acceptances, our preferred online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au to reopen betting on the classic shortly.
In the meantime take the chance to open your Ladbrokes account and enjoy having your first deposit matched dollar for dollar as a bonus bet
2014 Stradbroke Handicap First Acceptances & Ballot
Eagle Farm Racecourse – 07/06/2014
*To be raised 0.5kg with acceptance of Spirit Of Boom
|1||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||1=||57.5kg|
|2||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||1=||55.5kg|
|3||SMOKIN’ JOEY||Wez Hunter||1=||55kg|
|4||RED TRACER||Chris Waller||4||55.5kg|
|5||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||5||56kg|
|7||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||7||55.5kg|
|8||RIVER LAD||Natalie Mccall||8||54.5kg|
|18||PERON||John P Thompson||18||52kg|
|19||LUCKY HUSSLER||Kent Fleming||19||52kg|
|20||SCORPIO QUEEN||Kris Lees||20||52kg|
|21||BLACK CASH||Kelly Doughty||21||52kg|
|22||INTO THE RED||Kelso Wood||22||50.5kg|
|24||BELLE DE COEUR||Luke Price||24||52kg|
|26||SCREAM MACHINE||Jason Coyle||26||52kg|
|28||SACRED STAR||Tony Pike||28||52kg|
|29||NICKED AND COURT||Liam Birchley||29||50.5kg|
|30||MISHANI STEALTH||Les Ross||30||52kg|