Ciaron Maher’s classy mare Azkadellia has confirmed her favouritism for Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap 2016 coming up trumps with barrier five for the Eagle Farm classic.
A total of four elite levels run on the official last day of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with the addition of last weekend’s washed-out Queensland Oaks to the card that is headlined by Race 9 at 3:40pm (AEST) – the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
A full field of 18 sprinters face off in this season’s Stradbroke Handicap, betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Queen Of The Turf Stakes winner Azkadellia.
She is out to emulate stablemate and fellow mare Srikandi who won the race for Maher 12 months ago when she backs-up off a run in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) into the handicap clash.
Shinko King four-year-old Azkadellia was second only to Music Magnate in the Doomben 10,000 on May 28 and looks spot-on with two weeks between runs heading towards the roomier Eagle Farm course.
Having worked well through the week at the new course proper, the Group 1 winner and multiple top level placegetter has Damien Oliver in the saddle on Saturday who shoots for his second Stradbroke success in three years after the win aboard River Lad in 2014.
Barrier five meanwhile last produced a Stradbroke Handicap winner in 2012 with Peter Moody’s mare Mid Summer Music.
Azkadellia also drops from 57kg at weight-for-age to just 54.5kg on the weekend, the exact weight carried to victory by Linton in 2013.
Heading the Stradbroke Handicap weights with 58kg – no horse having carried more than 56kg to victory since Rough Habit (58.5kg) for his second back in 1992 – is the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart.
The former Perth galloper boasts two wins and two seconds this time in, his latest being a win over Under The Louvre in Adelaide’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) on May 21.
Robert Smerdon’s The Goodwood runner-up Under The Louvre also backs-up on Saturday dropping from 55.5kg to 54.5kg, but with a wide gate 13 draw to overcome.
Black Heart Bart meanwhile is drawn in barrier 10 with Brad Rawiller retaining the ride on the Blackfriars five-year-old.
A host of other last-start winners feature in the Stradbroke Handicap field this season including the aforementioned Doomben 10,000 champ Music Magnate for Bjorn Baker and last year’s winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy.
Music Magnate is drawn in gate three, the Written Tycoon gelding looking to become the first male four-year-old to win the race since Thorn Park (2004).
Also coming off a last start win are the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) champ at Doomben Malaguerra in gate nine with Hugh Bowman to ride, the Chris Waller-trained Counterattack, Precious Gem and Kaepernick.
Waller shoots for his first Stradbroke Handicap trophy this year saddling-up smart Redoute’s Choice colt Counterattack from barrier 14.
Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira rides the youngster who, if successful, will be the third Stradbroke Handicap winner in four years to overcome a wide alley joining Linton (16 of 18 in 2013) and River Lad (15 of 18 in 2014).
Sincero (2011) was the last three-year-old Stradbroke Handicap winner, and Group 1 placed Counterattack comes off a last start win on May 21 in Doomben’s Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m).
Henry Dwyer prepares six-year-old Econsul mare Precious Gem who is out to extend her winning streak to three on the trot with a Stradbroke upset.
Two back she won a Black-Type at Caulfield before her narrow victory as a $20 outsider at Morphettville on May 7 in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m).
Kaepernick meanwhile will be flying with just 52kg on his back in the form of Christian Reith this weekend, the Team Hawkes-trained Fastnet Rock four-year-old drawn out in gate 17 and last seen winning the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at Scone in mid-May.
On Tuesday Kaepernick proved his fitness ahead of the Straddie bid blitzing an 850m Sunshine Coast trial by 2.3 lengths.
See below for the full Stradbroke Handicap 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to lock in your tips for the weekend at the guaranteed hottest odds!
2016 Stradbroke Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Eagle Farm Race 9 (3:40pm) – 11/06/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11492×2121||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||10||58kg||113|
|2||6241×59784||DELECTATION||Chris Waller||James McDonald||7||57kg||111|
|3||11211×1161||MALAGUERRA||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Hugh Bowman||9||56kg||109|
|4||2x2311x121||MUSIC MAGNATE (NZ)||Bjorn Baker||Kerrin McEvoy||3||55.5kg||108|
|5||123×212312||AZKADELLIA (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Damien Oliver||5||54.5kg||110|
|6||x2600x1603||CHARLIE BOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tommy Berry||6||54.5kg||106|
|7||x523264x32||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||13||54.5kg||106|
|8||x56x4041x0||SACRED STAR||Tony Pike||TBA||8||54.5kg||106|
|9||607x3310x6||BIG MONEY||Rodney Northam||Robert Thompson||4||54kg||105|
|10||700x1900x7||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Tye Angland||16||54kg||105|
|11||1541×96210||CHARMED HARMONY||John Sadler||Chad Schofield||15||53kg||103|
|12||x1513x3521||COUNTERATTACK||Chris Waller||Joao Moreira||14||52.5kg||103|
|13||602010×211||PRECIOUS GEM||Henry Dwyer||Tim Clark||18||52.5kg||106|
|14||7222×61249||TWO BLUE||Kristen Buchanan||Ms Tegan Harrison||2||52kg||103|
|15||122x0130x1||KAEPERNICK||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Christian Reith||17||52kg||99|
|16||11x39x9373||ARTLEE||Todd Willan||Mitchell Bell||1||52kg||98|
|17||3467×24312||TAKEDOWN||Gary Moore||Jason Taylor||11||50.5kg||99|
|18||161||THE VIRGINIAN||Toby Edmonds||TBA||12||50.5kg||67|