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Scone-based trainer Rodney Northam has confirmed a start in Saturday’s Hall Mark Stakes in Sydney first-up for his Stradbroke Handicap 2015-bound sprinter Big Money.
The Choisir gelding is one of a bumper 19 short distance gallopers nominated for the $150,000 Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m), the set weights plus penalties one of the key support races on Royal Randwick’s All Aged Stakes Day program this weekend.
Five-year-old Big Money hasn’t raced since December when he scored back-to-back Brisbane summer black types at Doomben Racecourse, a track Northam plans to take him back to this winter for a shot at an elite level win.
This Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Northam plans to target Queensland’s richest race with Big Money aimed at the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) on June 6.
Lightly-raced for his age, the horse has had just the 15 starts to date for a consistent record of nine wins and four seconds.
His two latest starts, as mentioned, were in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) and the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) in Brisbane both of which he won.
Now he’s out to add to a nice first-up record of two wins and a third from four starts when he returns to racing in Sydney on the weekend having just his second start at Randwick.
While he’s yet to win at the track over the Hall Mark Stakes discount Big Money has enjoyed three wins and a second from five starts.
It may have been four months since his last start but the Group 1 hope showed he was ready to get back to the track with a winning 1000m trial at Muswellbrook on March 29.
“Whatever he does on Saturday he’ll improve on because the Stradbroke is going to be his main aim,” Northam told AAP.
For the trial his regular rider Robert Thompson was in the saddle, the veteran hoop retaining the ride in the Hall Mark Stakes where Big Money could come up against the likes of returning sprint champ Our Boy Malachi, the now Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Hot Snitzel and TJ Smith Stakes fifth placed Rain Affair for Joe Pride.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Top Echelon six-year-old Our Boy Malachi is early favourite at around $7 in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap odds around the country.
Big Money meanwhile is also in the top half of those futures markets paying $13, a price set to firm if he can kick things off with a win in Hall Mark Stakes.
Along with Big Money and Our Boy Malachi, the other notable Stradbroke Handicap hope entered for the Hall Mark this Saturday is another Pride-trained chance in Starcraft four-year-old Craftiness shooting for his fifth straight win.
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