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A successful step-up to 1350m in Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes in Brisbane will open up a 2015 Stradbroke Handicap bid for Rodney Northam’s Scone-based visitor Big Money.
The Choisir gelding is leading the Ladbrokes.com.au markets at $3.50 to go back-to-back at Doomben Racecourse this weekend with a win in the $175,000 Listed Garrards Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m).
A run in that summer feature follows his smart one and a quarter-length victory over a similar field of rivals on December 6 in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m).
Big Money continues then to show an affinity for racing in the Sunshine State after a successful bid here last Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival
During a two run Queensland raid back in June he ran second to Cape Kidnappers in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1000m) before a long neck win over the same horse in the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes (1200m) next start.
He headed back to Sydney after that and won the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) before spelling for three months.
His form this time in has been building and now on the weekend he gets his first run at further than 1200m, an assignment Northam is confident the horse will handle.
“We haven’t really had to look for anything over further until now because he’s been so consistent over the shorter trips,” he said.
“It’s an easy 1350 (metres) so I don’t have any problems with him getting it.
“It should open up a lot more options for him.”
He faces off against George Moore runner-up Someday ($7) and third placed Cape Kidnappers ($7) again but goes up two kilos in weight to 59.5kg with Robert Thompson staying on in a nice barrier six draw.
“He’s drawn very well, I would think that he would probably box seat from there,” Northam said.
“Hopefully he will be able to make his run when he wants to.
“He’s worked well during the week and has raced well there in the past.
“It’s a really good little series of races they put on in Brisbane over the summer.”
If all goes well and Big Money handles the extra metres of the Lough Neagh, Northam will start confirming a return trip for the Queensland winter riches with Group 1 targets on the agenda.
Northam is keen to test him in the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 23 with an eye on Queensland’s richest race, the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) held either back at Doomben or at Eagle Farm pending renovations on June 6.
“If he can run that distance then there are some nice races for him in Brisbane during the winter,” he said.
“I’m thinking that he will go straight to the paddock (after Saturday) and probably get ready for the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke if he runs well on Saturday.
“That way we dodge the really top-notch Group I sprinters over the Championships (in Sydney).”
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