James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Three-year-old Oak Door will be out to add to his commercial value as a future stallion with a Group 1 Brisbane win on Saturday, but firstly he needs to make the Stradbroke Handicap 2017 starting line-up.
This year’s $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) runs at Doomben with Eagle Farm out of action until August.
The change of venues for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival feature has reduced the Stradbroke Handicap field from 18 starters to 16.
Currently sitting well down the order of entry in 25th spot on the Stradbroke Handicap ballot is Smerdon’s improving Commands colt Oak Door.
Smerdon is hoping for a number of scratchings from the line-up so his Group 2 winner makes the field on the weekend.
Plan B should Oak Door miss out on a spot in the Stradbroke is a run against his own age over the mile in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m).
“He’s won a Group 2 before and he’s an entire,” Smerdon told the media this week.
“If he won the [Queensland] Guineas it just consolidates his future, but if he could win a Group 1 then you’ve got a real commercial product.
“I think also he’s better at 1350 or 1400 metres than at the mile.”
To date the three-year-old has posted four wins from 13 career starts including a gun three-from-four record over the more suitable Stradbroke Handicap distance.
His latest victory was in Caulfield’s Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) where he defeated Attention by a length back on February 11.
He has been tested over a mile just once before, but could only manage to finish two and three-quarter lengths back ninth to Hey Doc in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in March.
Oak Door has had just the one run since finishing a close first-up fourth behind Tashbeeh at Flemington on May 20 in the Listed The Straight Six (1200m) where he was ridden by apprentice Ben Thompson.
No hoop has been locked-in should Oak Door run in the Stradbroke Handicap, but Smerdon said Craig Williams was on standby for the Guineas ride.
Williams rode then three-year-old Sniper’s Bullet to victory in the 2007 Stradbroke Handicap and is booked for the mount on the Lindsay Park-trained Derryn in the Group 1 this weekend.
Hinchinbrook colt Derryn was third two back in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) beaten under a length by the winner Redzel.
His latest run on May 27 at Eagle Farm produced a distant sixth to Clearly Innocent in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
Clearly Innocent leads pre-field Stradbroke Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.80 to do the double.
Derryn is the $8 third favourite, while Oak Door is an $81 roughie to make the field and go on to score a huge upset.
Check out all the winter racing markets and Group 1 odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of this weekend’s bumper Brisbane line-up.
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