Favourite for last weekend’s washed-out QTC Cup Kaepernick could be stepped up in class with a run in the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap this Saturday being considered by Hawkes Racing.
Last start winner of the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at Scone on May 14, Fastnet Rock four-year-old Kaepernick was top fancy in betting to win the $175,000 Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Inclement weather saw the Queensland Oaks Day card abandoned, with the meeting’s Group 1 feature as well as the QTC Cup transferred to this weekend’s Stradbroke Handicap Day line-up.
Kaepernick remains entered for the rescheduled QTC Cup, but is also in the mix for the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
A decision by trainers Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes on which Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival feature the galloper will contest is yet to be made.
The in-form gelding has won five of his 13 career starts to date including the Black-Type sprint at Scone named in honour of Ortensia who sadly passed away this week.
He trialled at the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday morning winning an 850m hit-out by two and a quarter lengths, the same margin he took out the Ortensia Stakes by, putting him in the mix for the Stradbroke.
“It is not ideal going from an 1100m race four weeks ago in to a tough 1400m Group 1 but we have to play the cards we have been dealt,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes told Racing Victoria.
“At this stage I’d say we are leaning towards running in the Stradbroke but the final decision won’t be made until we see how he is this afternoon.”
Christian Reith rode Kaepernick for his easy trial win, which impressed Hawkes.
“It was a choice of working before dark or having a trial, he wasn’t out to break any records in the trial, he was basically throttled off in the last 100m because the track was quite wet and I didn’t want Christian to flatten him before Saturday,” Hawkes said.
Reith was also pleased with how the horse felt.
“He gave me a good feel, he went through his gears nicely, he had a nice clean out so that should top him off nicely for Saturday,” he said.
“He likes to relax early and come with a burst at the end and that is what he did this morning.
“It was the first time I’ve ridden him and it was enjoyable to get a feel of him before Saturday.”
Kaepernick sits number 16 on the Stradbroke Handicap ballot so is assured of a run should connections opt to run him in the elite level sprint and will drop from 54kg last start to 52kg.
Co-trainer and Hall of Famer John Hawkes has prepared one previous Stradbroke Handicap winner with Crawl back in 2001 and Kaepernick is the stable’s sole entry for this year’s edition of Queensland’s richest race.
Kaepernick is being kept fairly safe in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $13 for the win, equal with Chris Waller’s Doomben 10,000 fourth placegetter last time out Delectation.
Last year’s winning trainer Ciaron Maher has the Stradbroke favourite Azkadellia ($4) looking to improve on a Doomben 10,000 second from May 28 with Darren Weir’s The Goodwood winner in Adelaide last time out Black Heart Bart ($5) the next best fancied in Stradbroke Handicap odds.
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