In an exciting finish in the opening Group 1 of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Malaguerra kept his Stradbroke Handicap dream alive with a narrow win over Dothraki in the BTC Cup 2016.
A four-year-old son of Magnus, Malaguerra from Melbourne will retain his spot at the top of the ante-post markets for next month’s $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm thanks to a gutsy photo-finish victory in the $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Coming off a sixth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) in Sydney back on April 16, the gelding improved when dropped back to 1200m for the BTC Cup got the bikkies with jockey Glen Colless in the saddle.
There was some pre-race drama in the BTC Cup Day major with both Artlee and Delectation backed out of the barriers and vetted before being passed fit to run.
Red hot favourite out of the Chris Waller stables Japonisme got away nicely before settling back off the leaders with veteran seven-year-old Two Blue racing off to lead from the eventual BTC Cup winner Malaguerra.
Victory Stakes winner Fell Swoop got stuck wide racing fourth just behind Echo Gal in third, while the rails-drawn Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Dothraki was handy up in fifth with Japonisme next in the field.
At the 400m Two Blue led into the straight, Japonisme trying to come with a late run down the outside to challenge but unable to get there for the punters.
Two Blue was still ahead 200m out from the line, but Malaguerra and Dothraki were coming and turned it into a two-horse battle in the BTC Cup.
Malaguerra ($9.50) dug deep and kicked back after market-mover Dothraki ($4.40) narrowly hit the lead, fighting for the win, while Japonisme ($3.20) crossed for third finishing off the BTC Cup trifecta.
The drama was still going however as Artlee dumped his rider Michael Cahill over the line, Cahill recovering quickly to get up and walk around not repeating a horror fall like Luke Nolen in Adelaide last Saturday.
Malaguerra could return to Doomben on May 28 for the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m), but all along Queensland’s richest race the Stradbroke Handicap has been on the cards.
Co-trainer Lee Freedman chases his second Stradbroke Handicap win after his success with Danasinga (1996) 20 years ago.
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2016 BTC Cup Results & Finishing Order
Doomben Race 7 – 14/05/2016
|1||8||MALAGUERRA||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Glen Colless||–||8||58.5kg||$7|
|2||4||DOTHRAKI||Peter & Paul Snowden||Blake Shinn||0.1L||1||58.5kg||$5|
|3||11||JAPONISME||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||1.4L||3||57kg||$3.30F|
|4||13||TWO BLUE||Kristen Buchanan||Paul King||1.5L||13||56.5kg||$26|
|5||2||FELL SWOOP||Matthew Dale||Jay Ford||1.6L||10||58.5kg||$5.50|
|6||9||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||James Orman (a)||2.1L||9||58.5kg||$21|
|7||6||ARTLEE||Todd Willan||Michael Cahill||2.3L||4||58.5kg||$9|
|8||1||DELECTATION||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||2.4L||11||58.5kg||$19|
|9||10||LIBERATION||Barry Lockwood||Brad Pengelly||4.7L||5||58.5kg||$15|
|10||14||ECHO GAL||Gai Waterhouse||Ms Tegan Harrison||5.7L||2||56.5kg||$51|
|11||5||SACRED STAR||Tony Pike||Jim Byrne||6L||7||58.5kg||$26|
|12||7||CHARLIE BOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Damian Browne||6.3L||6||58.5kg||$15|
|13||3||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||8.3L||12||58.5kg||$15|
|–||12||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||Sam Clipperton||–||0||–||–|