Honest Sydney sprinter Scream Machine is right on the cusp of a Stradbroke Handicap 2014 start this weekend but trainer Jason Coyle won’t know whether they’re in or out until Wednesday’s final acceptances.
There are still officially 30 gallopers vying for a spot in the capacity 18-starter field for this year’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) that lights up Eagle Farm Racecourse as one of three Group 1 races on the weekend.
One horse that is about a “50-50” chance of making the cut according to their trainer is Excites five-year-old Scream Machine.
“A few people I have talked to have been skeptical about him getting a run but some others reckon he will get a run,” Coyle told The Courier-Mail.
“I reckon it is probably 50-50.”
They currently sit 28th on the Stradbroke Handicap order of entry, but with a number defectors higher up the ballot expected when final acceptances close tomorrow, Scream Machine could sneak in as one of five emergencies.
It’s a nervous wait then for Coyle who knows how well the horse is travelling, Scream Machine coming off a good run in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
Won by fellow Stradbroke hope and likely 58kg topweight Spirit Of Boom, the Doomben 10,000 was a blanket finish and Scream Machine was beaten under two lengths when sixth.
That was just their second run for this prep following a first-up third over the same distance at Rosehill a fortnight earlier.
It’s been a while between drinks for the gelding who hasn’t won a race since their narrow victory in the Listed Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) just over 12 months ago.
That coupled with the fact they may not even make the field sees Scream Machine positioned well down the latest Stradbroke Handicap odds at a quote of $26.
“He hasn’t been able to win a race like he needed to confirm a start so it is up in the air,” Coyle said.
“There is not much I can do; I really just have to hope for the best.
“It was always the plan to try to have a crack at the Stradbroke.
“He has always raced at the top level and this is a great chance to try and pick up some big prize money.”
If they make the field Coyle has Scream Machine, who ran ninth in Queensland Derby over a mile and a half as a three-year-old on Stradbroke Day two years ago, booked for a flight to Queensland on Thursday night.
Coyle won’t send them to the paddock immediately however if they miss out on a Group 1 run in Brisbane, instead setting the horse for some easier Sydney assignments at home.
Stradbroke markets are led by up-and-coming young filly Srikandi ($4.60) just ahead of Rebel Dane ($6.50) who will be ridden by Tommy Berry over from Hong Kong and the Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck ($7).
The Stradbroke Handicap 2014 final field and barrier draw are due out tomorrow so stay tuned to Races.com.au.
Now then is your last chance to lock in the juicy ante-post prices available on your favourites online at the country’s premier bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.