Ciaron Maher’s classy mare Azkadellia is the firming favourite in Stradbroke Handicap 2016 betting for the big race at Eagle Farm this Saturday in Brisbane.
A capacity field of sprinters face off in Eagle Farm Race 9 at 3:40pm (AEST) – the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) including recent Queen Of The Turf Stakes winner in Sydney Azkadellia.
The four-year-old daughter of Shinko King is looking to go back-to-back in the Straddie for her Caulfield-based horseman Maher who won the classic last year at Doomben with Srikandi.
The roomy Eagle Farm course is set to suit the in-form Azkadellia on Saturday far better than Doomben where she ran second last time out in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
She is ticking plenty of boxes, drops from 57kg to 54.5kg on the weekend, has Damien Oliver in the saddle and dominates the Stradbroke Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.70 (in from $4) to salute for the punters for the first time since Black Piranha (2009).
In an open market this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival a further four runners are also under $10 for the win including the $6 second favourite Black Heart Bart from the all-conquering stables of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir.
Coming off a win in Adelaide’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m), the former Perth-trained Blackfriars five-year-old Black Heart Bart hasn’t put a foot wrong for Weir and has a great record over the Stradbroke distance of five wins and three seconds from nine runs.
His big query though is carting the 58kg top weight, a kilo more than his The Goodwood weight, which if successful will make him the heaviest-weighted Stradbroke Handicap winner since Rough Habit (58.5kg in 1992).
The next best in betting at $7 is the widely-drawn Counterattack (14) for Chris Waller, the exciting Redoute’s Choice colt to be ridden by the “Magic Man” Joao Moreira.
Wide gates have produced two of the past three Stradbroke Handicap winners, while the last three-year-old to win was Sincero (2011).
Counterattack then is a livewire chance historically-speaking and comes off a Brisbane win in Doomben’s Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) from May 21.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies at $9 apiece are two other last start winners Malaguerra (9) and Music Magnate ($9).
Lee & Anthony Freedman’s Magnus four-year-old Malaguerra won the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben in mid-May and has been brought on fitness-wise since with a winning Gold Coast trial.
He carried 58.5kg to victory in the BTC Cup and will appreciate coming back to 56kg here with Hugh Bowman coming aboard.
Bjorn Baker’s Music Magnate also saluted in top company in the Sunshine State last time out when defeating Saturday’s favourite Azkadellia home by a half-length to win in the Doomben 10,000.
He also comes down in weight to 55.5kg with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle, McEvoy having won the race 12 months ago on Maher’s mare.
Interesting to note is that the five of the past six Stradbroke Handicap winners jumped at double-figures and the best of the longer priced hopes this season include the Team Hawkes-trained Kaepernick ($11) and Robert Smerdon’s The Goodwood runner-up Under The Louvre ($13).
See below for the full Stradbroke Handicap 2016 odds, fixed win prices provided by Ladbrokes.com.au who are matching the first deposits of new players (excluding NSW) with up to $500 in bonuses with use of the code BETBONUS!