Connections of the talented young Gai Waterhouse-trained filly Najoom will be tempted to pay the late Stradbroke Handicap entry to get her into the field for Queensland’s richest race after her impressive victory in the 2015 Fred Best Classic.
A three-year-old daughter of Northern Meteor, Najoom is now exempt from ballot for the $2 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) run back at Doomben Racecourse on June 6 after she easily stole the show in the $125,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) to close the Doomben 10,000 Day card.
All the money was on Waterhouse’s visitor, the lightly-raced Najoom having won four of her past six starts including the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) run at Rosehill on May 9 last time out.
She led all the way and set the pace that day, dictating the race and getting things all her way.
It was a much tougher test then in the Fred Best Classic in Brisbane with jockey Tommy Berry and the favourite drawn out wide in barrier 15 of 16.
She was away fairly well from the gates trying to muster early speed but landed into an awkward spot three wide without cover facing the stiff breeze.
Tony Gollan’s Group 1 runner-up in Melbourne Traveston Girl was also fast out and she went up front to lead the Fred Best Classic field around with Lucky Tom settled into second chasing.
Najoom meanwhile was third but stuck deep in a really tough run.
Rounding the bend with 350m left to travel Najoom, who was never on the track, was called upon and boy did she respond.
Over the final 200m Najoom ($3) showed the hard run had taken nothing off her finishing burst and she raced off, getting away at the 100m to win by an improving three and a half lengths.
In second trying hard to close the big margin on the runaway winner was the Kelly Schweida-trained local Miss Cover Girl ($12), winner of the Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick two back, while Leon & Troy Corstens’ roughie shot Awesome Rock ($71) added value to the winner Fred Best Classic trifecta.
The temptation is now there to pay the late entry for Najoom to be tested in Group 1 company in the Stradbroke Handicap, the last filly to take it out being La Montagna (2006).
Since then two other three-year-olds have won the race dominated by six-year-old winners with Sniper’s Bullet (2007) and Sincero (2011) both winning the Stradbroke during their three-year-old seasons.
Waterhouse meanwhile has enjoyed just the one Stradbroke Handicap win back in 1994 with All Our Mob saluting as the favourite on the back of a win in that year’s Doomben 10,000.
It would take a brave connection with the money not to throw Najoom in the mix this year after the solid win that had her jockey Berry looking excited, an indication she gave him the feel of a Group 1 winner in the making.
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2015 Fred Best Classic Results & Finishing Order
Doomben Race 9 – 23/05/2015
|1||14||NAJOOM||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||–||15||55kg||$2.90F|
|2||11||MISS COVER GIRL||Kelly Schweida||Damian Browne||3.3L||5||55kg||$13|
|3||5||AWESOME ROCK||Leon & Troy Corstens||Hugh Bowman||4.3L||12||57kg||$61|
|4||4||SARAJEVO||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4.8L||14||57kg||$8.50|
|5||2||JABALI||Mick Price||Brad Rawiller||5.3L||4||57kg||$41|
|6||8||LUCKY TOM||Harold Norman||Rikki Jamieson (a)||5.4L||11||57kg||$71|
|7||10||STAVIVA||Matt Laurie||Kerrin McEvoy||5.6L||2||57kg||$15|
|8||12||HIJACK HUSSY||Tony Gollan||Michael Rodd||5.7L||10||55kg||$21|
|9||13||TRAVESTON GIRL||Tony Gollan||Zac Purton||6.2L||9||55kg||$4.80|
|10||3||SILENT WHISPER||Lloyd Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||7L||3||57kg||$13|
|11||9||REKINDLED POWER||Paul Messara||Blake Shinn||7.5L||16||57kg||$9|
|12||16||CUERVO||Rochelle Smith||Timothy Bell||7.7L||6||55kg||$201|
|13||1||DEIHEROS||Lloyd Kennewell||Ric McMahon||8.7L||7||57kg||$14|
|14||7||HOMEHILL||Kelly Schweida||Glyn Schofield||9L||8||57kg||$81|
|15||15||FEELS LIKE HOME||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||10.8L||13||55kg||$101|
|16||6||MR CHA CHA||Brad Herne||Glen Boss||19.3L||1||57kg||$41|