After running third as the beaten favourite in Queensland’s richest race last winter, the Ciaron Maher-trained mare Srikandi is set to jump the punters’ pick in the Stradbroke Handicap 2015 again after her soft first-up win in the Victory Stakes on the Gold Coast.
As a three-year-old last winter the classy daughter of Dubawi showed an immediate liking for the ‘Sunshine State’ winning the Listed Silk Stocking on Hollindale Stakes Day exactly 12 months before her success in this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (2000m) back at the track.
She progressed well to win her next two starts at Doomben before running a brave third as a young filly behind River Lad and Temple Of Boom in the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
This year’s Stradbroke Handicap runs over 1350m at Doomben Racecourse on June 6 and Maher confirmed that was Srikandi’s Grand Final aim once again.
“Yeah, she’ll head there, one step at a time,” he said.
“The Straddie is the plan.
“I think she should improve off today. It was match practice and she’ll come on a bit from it.”
Before the Victory Stakes the now four-year-old hadn’t had a run since the Stradbroke last year, but Maher knew he had his mare cherry ripe to score first-up in her return when she took on the proven weight-for-age horses.
She made a beautiful, natural progression from a three-year-old to a four-year-old and easily handled the weight-for-age test to salute as the market mover and Victory Stakes favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Never having been tested on weighted level with these horses, if Srikandi was going to vulnerable in the winter today was the day.
She more than proved she could measure up however and will now track up to Brisbane for the feature Group 1 sprints with runs in the $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on Doomben Cup Day May 9, the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 23 and then of course the Stradbroke Handicap.
In the Victory Stakes the eventual winner bounded out of the gates with Damian Browne aboard, going up to settle just off the Tony Gollan-trained Rocket To Glory and Joe Pride’s ultra-consistent Sydney raider Ball Of Muscle.
Last start winner of the Chief De Beers Handicap in Brisbane, six-year-old Rocket To Glory led them around looking to hand Gollan with back-to-back wins after his success in the Victory 12 months ago with Temple Of Boom who settled into fourth when defending his title this year.
Onto the straight Rocket Of Glory held the lead before Ball Of Muscle, who until today had never been defeated second-up, and Srikandi cut loose after the frontrunner.
It was Srikandi ($3.90) flying down the outside who was going stride for stride with Ball Of Muscle ($5) before easily putting him away with a soft one length win on the line.
Finishing off the trifecta in third was then outside chance Dances On Stars ($31), the Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzel six-year-old yet to finish out of the money in four starts at the Gold Coast track now.
“Damian just rode her perfectly,” Maher added.
“She looked to be a little bit fractious in the gates but they had been there a while.
“There was good speed on…he (Browne) did exactly what he said he was going to do.
“It’s great going forward. After a long break you put a nice foundation on them and hope they’re right.
“It’s great to kick off with a win.
“She’s a quality horse so hopefully she can keep going.”
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2015 Victory Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Gold Coast Race 7 – 25/04/2015
|1||12||SRIKANDI||Ciaron Maher||Damian Browne||–||1||56.5kg||$3.70F|
|2||11||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Blake Shinn||1L||3||58.5kg||$5.50|
|3||7||DANCES ON STARS (NZ)||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||1.8L||5||58.5kg||$26|
|4||6||KNOYDART||John O’Shea||Hugh Bowman||2L||2||58.5kg||$5.50|
|5||9||HIDDEN WARRIOR||Gordon Yorke||Jim Cassidy||3L||10||58.5kg||$21|
|6||1||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Tegan Harrison||3.2L||6||58.5kg||$8|
|7||5||ROCKET TO GLORY||Tony Gollan||Luke Tarrant (a)||3.7L||4||58.5kg||$13|
|8||3||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Steven Arnold||4.5L||7||58.5kg||$11|
|9||4||ALMA’S FURY||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||4.8L||9||58.5kg||$31|
|10||2||RIVER LAD||Natalie Mccall||Damien Oliver||7.8L||8||58.5kg||$9|
|–||8||CAPE KIDNAPPERS||Kelly Schweida||Ric McMahon||–||0||–||–|
|–||10||WHITTINGTON||John P Thompson||Chad Schofield||–||0||–||–|