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Four-year-old gelding Craftiness has yet to be tested in black-type racing but could find himself travelling north to Queensland for the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 6 after another impressive win on Saturday.
The Joseph Pride-trained gelding has finished in the first two in all six of his career starts (five of which he won) and has an impressive record after winning by over two lengths his past three times out.
His most impressive win was the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1100m) on December 20 after surging through the pack to find the front despite jumping wide. He had plenty of pressure from his rivals out wide but continued to lead at the turn before giving a strong kick at the 200m mark and establishing his two and a half length winning margin from there.
Craftiness continued his magic on Saturday in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1100m) where he was first from the barrier, taking the lead immediately and running strongly at a solid tempo. The gelding raced clear nearing the 200m mark and went on to win without any pressure again by two and a half lengths.
“I’m thinking Stradbroke,” Pride told The Sydney Morning Herald following the race.
“They’ve changed it to the 1350-metres at Doomben and, I don’t know, it’s just a thought in my mind and it’s been there for a while.
“He’s exciting and you can tell by the time he’s ran today. Blake [Shinn, jockey] has had a big wrap on him from the start.”
The 2015 Stradbroke Handicap boasts prize money totally $2 million – double what was on offer last year – so except to see a bevy of talented sprinter-milers travelling north to Queensland during the winter, including Team Hawkes’ Our Boy Malachi who has impressively won 16 of his 18 career starts, including the Listed Razor Sharp (1200m) last time out.
Pride was hesitant to declare Craftiness a major 2015 Stradbroke Handicap player just yet but did note that progress in the horse would see him at the top of the field.
“That’s still a long way off and he’s still got a few steps to take yet but I just think he’s a real progressive horse,” Pride said.
“It will all be found out next preparation. I just wanted to see him [win by a large margin] again today to prove it was no fluke. You just want to see him put good performances together.”
Punters will be keeping their eyes on Craftiness’ upcoming preparation to see if he has what it takes to step up to the 1400 metre distance of the Stradbroke.
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