The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
Godolphin found themselves back in the winners’ circle at Eagle Farm on Saturday as Trekking saluted for the blue colours in the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
The four-year-old by Street Cry was one of five single-priced chances but never looked in doubt down the straight as jockey Kerrin McEvoy picked up the lead at the 200m mark.
Trekking, who won the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick back in March before placing third in last fortnight’s Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m), saw off the challenge from second place-getter Tyzone and a strong late run from Endless Drama.
McEvoy not only earned himself a double after riding Mr Quickie to victory in the race prior but also his 15th win from 75 Group 1 starts in Queensland.
“Great thrill, he’s a genuine little racehorse, huge thrill to do it in the Godolphin colours. Well done to James (Cummings) and his team, he’s been in great order. We knew back to handicap was going to suit him and we just got a lovely run through the race and the horse did the rest” McEvoy told Channel 7.
As for trainer James Cummings, the win marked his first Stradbroke victory after lining up a host of chances including Home of the Brave, Viridine and Encryption.
“It’s a massive effort from Trekking, an unbelievable preparation that he’s had. We had him bang on this week, we had a lot of confidence around him” Cummings said trackside.
“You can never second-guess a Stradbroke or think you might have one in the bag. These big Group 1 handicaps are thrilling in their own way, and to see him cruise up and win in painless fashion was extremely satisfying and I know the whole crew are going to be pretty pleased with that.”
The pace was on early in the race as I’m A Rippa and Home of the Brave scrambled for the lead. The Bostonian, who was aiming to make history by becoming the first horse to win the Brisbane Winter Carnival treble, came out last from the gates, while track familiarity leant a hand to Trekking who hit the line strongly in the dying stages.
“I ran the horse in the Kingsford Smith Cup a couple of weeks ago and I was determined to give him a look at the track here because it is so different to what he’s experienced in Sydney” Cummings went on to say.
“He ran well, but he only just got it together. This week we knew he needed to have a nice hit on the grass and get a bit of confidence out of the track.”
There was no such luck for Princess Posh, who was a late scratching just minutes before the jump.
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