Caulfield horseman Robert Smerdon is talking pre-race tactics ahead of Saturday’s 2015 Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben Racecourse saying he could instruct jockey Corey Brown to go forward on the favourite Lumosty.
Fastnet Rock filly Lumosty currently leads the early markets for the $2 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at $5 through Ladbrokes.com.au despite sitting 21st on the order of entry for Queensland’s richest race.
Smerdon is sweating on a decent attrition rate when the final Stradbroke Handicap acceptances close on Wednesday morning so Lumosty, a winner of her past two at Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse, makes the starting line-up.
He is gaining more confidence however with a number higher above his filly in the ballot already confirmed non-runners including the injured Gai Waterhouse-trained Najoom who is one of the sprinters equal first on the order of entry after her Fred Best Classic win this winter.
Two others ruled out of a Stradbroke run who were guaranteed a start are last weekend’s Group 2 QTC Cup winner Ball Of Muscle and the Chris Waller-trained Strawberry Boy.
Jockey Corey Brown is on standby for the ride, the back-up plan for Lumosty being a run in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m) over the same track and distance at the meeting.
She is weighted on just 50.5kg for the Stradbroke, a weight last carried to victory in the classic by then three-year-old Sincero (2011).
Recent fillies in the past 20 years to win the Stradbroke Handicap who Lumosty will be out to join meanwhile are La Montagna (2006), Private Steer (2003) and Dane Ripper (1997).
“It’s looking much better that she will get in the field, but it’s not over the line just yet,” Smerdon told The Courier-Mail.
“We won’t know our fate for sure and certain until the acceptances come out.
“I’m not one of those who subscribe to the theory that the Stradbroke this year isn’t high quality. There are lots of very good horses in the race and it’s a Group 1 — they aren’t easy to win.
“I would never underestimate how hard it is to win a Stradbroke.’’
Her last start was on May 23 when Dwayne Dunn rode her to an impressive two and three-quarter length victory over Le Bonsir in the Listed The Straight Six (1200m) on May 23.
Last spring Lumosty took out the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (1600m) on Cox Plate Day with Nicholas Hall aboard and Smerdon is using her performance when second up on the speed before saluting as a hint to how she may be ridden more forward than expected on Saturday.
“She is very tractable and pretty much led all of the way that day at Moonee Valley and won well,” he said.
“Anything is possible is possible with her, she is a very good filly.”
To check out the full Stradbroke Handicap odds before the markets firm with the field coming out on Wednesday visit Ladbrokes.com.au and sign-up with the bookie offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on all three Brisbane Group 1s on the weekend!