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Despite a wide barrier draw for the Stradbroke Handicap 2014, star hoop Glen Boss is confident his decision to stick with young filly Srikandi is the right one in the Eagle Farmclassic this Saturday.
Wednesday’s barrier draw was a disaster for the favourites in this year’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) including Dubawi filly Srikandi who drew barrier 17.
That could potentially turn into barrier 14 with the emergencies out, still wider than trainer Ciaron Maher had hoped for after stating a gate between one and 10 would be ideal.
While on paper the wide gate is a nasty blow for the known front running three-year-old, Boss is confident she is still the one to beat in the big 18-starter field especially with her 51kg minimum weight.
“She’s a progressive three-year-old filly going very quickly through the classes, with no weight and whether she can win or not she’ll finish in the first three on Saturday,” Boss told Racing Victoria.
With showers and a possible wet track for Stradbroke Day, Boss said Srikandi’s ability to handle all types of ground was also a big plus.
“She handles wet or dry tracks and the big deciding factor with this horse is the weight she gets off the genuine good horses,” he said.
A winner of six of her seven starts to date, two of which were on Heavy tracks, Srikandi has had Boss aboard for her past three victories in Queensland.
The most recent of those, and the one that earned her a late entry into the Stradbroke, was in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on May 24 – Doomben 10,000 Day.
She did it with ease that day, albeit against a much easier class of rivals, from a similarly wide barrier (13) and Boss is confident she’ll jump well and put herself right into the race again on Saturday.
“The draw for a Stradbroke is pretty critical for a lot of horses but with her I thought it wasn’t,” Boss said.
“She’s an electric horse out of the machines and her first four or five strides are pretty quick.
“She’s going to lob in the first four and to be honest I’d rather take the drop off a couple than lead.
“When she won very impressively two starts ago [in the Listed Juanmo Stakes (1200m)], that was when she sat off one and she just exploded when I asked her to go.”
Boss was given the option of sticking with Srikandi or partnering with the Gary Portelli-trained Group 1 winning four-year-old Rebel Dane, who he won his last elite level with in the Sir Rupert Clark Stakes back in September, in Saturday’s major.
He opted for Maher’s filly, a decision he stands by especially after Rebel Dane drew ever worse and will likely jump from the extreme outside barrier on the weekend.
“The other day the time she ran was very comparable to the Doomben 10,000 on the day,” Boss said of Srikandi’s Glenlogan victory where she finished in 1:18.40.
“She had 57kg in that race and now she drops to 51kg and her last 400m was quicker than the Doomben 10,000.”
“I can’t see her finishing any worse than third. Rebel Dane needs a lot to go his way.”
The wide Stradbroke barrier originally saw Srikandi lose top spot in the markets and ease out to $6.
News from Maher, and Boss’s confidence, however has seen the money come back for her and she’s the early market mover back into $5.
That’s an equal price with the rails-drawn Hucklebuck, Phillip Stokes’ in-form three-year-old another light-weight getting into the field with the same 51kg allocation as Srikandi.
The next best in Stradbroke Handicap betting at $7.50 are then Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom who was the big winner with the barriers drawing six and Rebel Dane coming via a fourth to Spirit Of Boom.
It is Chris Waller’s Dane Shadow mare Red Tracer, paying $10 after drawing barrier 16, that Boss rates as the big danger though.
“Red Tracer might have been beaten in a couple of races in the autumn but she wasn’t beaten far against quality opposition,” he said.
“She is a dual Group 1 winner and she’s got 56kg so she’s well in.
“I believe the market has reacted too strongly to her Srikandi winning last start and pushed her into favouritism against horses like Red Tracer, Hucklebuck and Rebel Dane.
“She is winning but you’ve got to look at what she’s beating. She is beating them easily but she’s not beating much.”
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