Despite sitting outside the guaranteed starting line-up on the ballot the Robert Smerdon-trained filly Lumosty is installed as the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap 2015 favourite for Saturday’s feature race at Doomben.
The richest race of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, this year’s $2 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) runs over 50m shorter than tradition with a move from Eagle Farm to Doomben Racecourse.
There are still officially 33 hopefuls in the mix including Smerdon’s in-form Fastnet Rock filly Lumosty who is 21st on the Stradbroke Handicap order of entry and weighted only 50.5kg for the classic.
Three-year-olds have won the Stradbroke Handicap three times in the past decade, most recently Sincero (2011), with Lumosty paying $5 through Ladbrokes.com.au to be the next this weekend.
Winner of the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (1600m) last October before a credible sixth to Set Square in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) to see out her spring, she returned this time in on May 9 and has won back-to-back Flemington races.
The latest was an impressive two and three-quarter length effort in the Listed The Straight Six (1200m) on May 23 ahead of her Queensland debut in the Stradbroke Handicap if she makes the field.
If not the back-up plan is to run her in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) at the same meeting before a trip to the Gold Coast for the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) on June 20.
There are currently three other single figure hopes in the early Stradbroke Handicap betting markets including co-$7 second picks Black Heart Bart and Generalife.
Vaughn Sigley’s Perth raider Black Heart Bart won four straight last time in back home around WA before his first-up fourth when beaten under two lengths by Flamberge in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide on May 16.
After the successful first interstate run the Blackfriars four-year-old will now travel to the Sunshine State for the Queensland Group 1 on the weekend, Black Heart Bart dropping from the 55.5kg he had in The Goodwood to only 53.5kg in the Stradbroke.
Generalife meanwhile has one kilo more with 54.5kg, John O’Shea’s Lonhro five-year-old coming off his first Doomben run from May 23 when a brave third only a quarter-length off Boban in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
The Doomben 10,000 form could be the right one to follow into the Stradbroke again in 2015 as the weight-for-age lead-up producing five of the past 10 winners with Mid Summer Music (2012) the most recent.
Finishing off the Stradbroke Handicap hopes under $10 in betting is then Charlie Boy ($9), Peter & Paul Snowden’s four-year-old having won the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at the track and distance two back before a second in the Doomben 10,000.
There’s a host of other hopes just off the single figure chances then including Chris Waller’s three-year-old Shamardal gelding Delectation ($10), Godolphin’s Doomben 10,000 fourth placed Knoydart ($10), the Tony Pike-trained Kiwi visitor Sacred Star ($12) and the Doomben 10,000 champ Boban ($13) who is not a guaranteed final acceptor.
See below for the latest Top 20 Stradbroke Handicap fancies then head to Ladbrokes.com.au to back them now before the markets firm with Wednesday’s final acceptances for the $2 million feature.