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Team Snowden have made the decision to scratch last start Gold Coast Guineas winner Hightail from the Group 3 $125,000 Fred Best Classic (1350m) field at Doomben this weekend with the three-year-old to head straight to Saturday week’s 2020 Stradbroke Handicap.
In-form Written Tycoon gelding Hightail was one of the top fancies in Fred Best Classic betting for Saturday having won back-to-back races in the lead-up including the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) on May 16.
On Wednesday first acceptances for the Group 1 $350,000 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6 were released featuring 44 horses.
Hightail now sits 15th on the Stradbroke Handicap order of entry and with the event having an 18-starter capacity, Peter & Paul Snowden are relieved not to have to run their youngster in the Fred Best this weekend as a qualifier for the Group 1 seven days later.
“We will only run in the Fred Best if we think we are not going to get in the Stradbroke,” co-trainer Peter Snowden said of Hightail speaking to Racenet earlier in the week before the first acceptances for Queensland’s premier race.
“If we have a thought in mind that he is going to get in (the Stradbroke) then we won’t run him again because he’s a good fresh horse.
“He has backed up once before, as a two-year-old, when he won in Sydney and then backed up into the Gold Coast Magic Millions where he ran third so he handled it okay.
“But in an ideal world we would go into a Stradbroke fairly fresh, three weeks between runs.”
Hightail has subsequently firmed in all-in Stradbroke Handicap betting at Ladbrokes.com.au and is now a $10 shot in markets led by the Godolphin-raced topweight Trekking (58kg) at $5.50.
As for the updated Fred Best Classic odds for Saturday, the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Dawn Passage is the firming $2.45 favourite chasing a third win on the trot.
The Dawn Approach colt looks hard to beat without Hightail in the race having won the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) and Restricted Listed Inglis Guineas (1400m) at Rosehill at his two latest starts.
Dawn Passage also featured in the Stradbroke Handicap 2020 first acceptances but remains outside the guaranteed starting line-up, 21st on the order of entry and needing to win the ballot free ride into the classic via the Fred Best on Saturday.
Should the up-and-coming Dawn Passage make the Stradbroke Handicap field, he will be ridden by James Innes Jnr on just 50kg with the hoop currently doing his required 14-day quarantine having already been booked for the ride.
The dangers in Fred Best Classic betting out to stop the Stradbroke dream for the favourite include the Godolphin-raced filly Exhilarates ($6) coming off a third in the Gold Coast Guineas, the Chris Waller-trained Subpoenaed ($7) and the ultra-consistent Grand Piano ($7.50) for John Thompson.
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