A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Bjorn Baker’s in-form mare Bonny O’Reilly needs a generous penalty from the handicappers to make the 2017 Stradbroke Handicap field this weekend in Brisbane.
A four-year-old daughter of O’Reilly, Bonny O’Reilly extended her winning streak to five on the trot stepping up into black-type class at Doomben Racecourse over the weekend.
Backing up from her ace lead-up form at home in Sydney, she easily accounted for her rivals on Queensland Oaks Day winning the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1200m) with Jason Collett in the saddle.
Baker plans on striking while the iron is hot and backing the mare up on a seven day turnaround returning to Doomben on Saturday.
Bonny O’Reilly is a dual nominee for the transferred Stradbroke Handicap Day card, moved from the highly-criticised Eagle Farm course for 2017.
Ideally Baker would love to test her in elite level company with a run against the season’s best sprinters in the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m).
Currently Bonny O’Reilly is 19th on the Stradbroke Handicap order of entry with 52kg, the field having a capacity of just 16 starters at Doomben as opposed to 18 when run at Eagle Farm.
News that the weekend’s Moreton Cup winner Deploy would not be entered for a last minute Stradbroke bid, at a late entry cost of $45,000 to connections, now has Bonny O’Reilly’s future in the hands of the handicappers.
“I’d like to think she could get a run so it will be interesting to see what the handicapper does,” Baker told AAP on Sunday.
Continuing to rise to the occasion, Bonny O’Reilly hasn’t been defeated since her second to In Her Time at Canterbury over 1100m in November last year.
The form of that race was franked when the winner In Her Time went on to post three subsequent wins including two in Group 2 company in Sydney, before fifths in Rosehill’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Brisbane’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m).
The Benjamin Smith-trained Time Thief mare In Her Time is also in the Stradbroke Handicap mix, the mare guaranteed a start sitting eighth on the ballot.
Baker confirmed that if not the Stradbroke Handicap, the other option for Bonny O’Reilly on Saturday would be a run against her own kind in the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1350m).
“If not we may look at the Dane Ripper also next week as a lead-in to the Tatt’s Tiara,” he added.
The $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1350m) for fillies and mares has also moved from Eagle Farm to Doomben and runs on Saturday June 24.
The latest all-in Stradbroke Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Clearly Innocent as the firm $4 favourite after the Kris Lees-trained galloper’s win in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm late last month.
Bonny O’Reilly meanwhile can be found a little further down the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap betting markets at $15 to make the line-up and join Srikandi (2015) as the most recent mare to beat home the boys in the winter feature.
Srikandi took out the race when the Stradbroke Handicap last ran at Doomben Racecourse two years ago.
The official Stradbroke Handicap 2017 field and barriers are released by Racing Queensland on Wednesday morning making now the time to back your tips at their generous futures prices online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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