The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Progressive young sprinter Oak Door is being considered for a 2017 Stradbroke Handicap bid in Group 1 company at Eagle Farm Racecourse next month according to his Caulfield-based trainer Robert Smerdon.
Smerdon won last year’s $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) with Under The Louvre, who heads to stud after a career swansong at Eagle Farm this Saturday in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
Hoping to uncover a similar class horse to replace one of the stable’s ace performers, Smerdon is looking ahead with his three-year-old Commands colt Oak Door.
The up-and-comer has enjoyed four wins from 13 career starts to date, his most notable victory being at home in February’s Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m).
Next-up Oak Door had a tough run in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington, but still finished under three lengths away ninth to the winner Hey Doc.
His only run since was a first-up fourth back at Flemington when two lengths off Tashbeeh in last Saturday’s Listed Straight Six (1200m), a performance Smerdon was more than pleased with.
“I thought it was good. Another few strides and he runs into third which was a good effort. He went into the race with good improvement in him,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria.
Smerdon is now weighing-up next-up options for the youngster, who is confirmed to head up to Queensland for a Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival run.
The option is there to throw him in the deep end with a Stradbroke Handicap start on June 10, Smerdon looking to prepare back-to-back winners in the race for the first time since Con Karakatsanis with Black Piranha (2009-10).
Since 2003, four three-year-olds have been home the older sprint types in the Stradbroke Handicap most recently Sincero (2011).
Clearly Innocent will put his Stradbroke claims on the line with his first Brisbane run in Saturday’s Kingsford-Smith Cup field.
Oak Door meanwhile is paying a $34 roughie’s price in futures Stradbroke Handicap odds.
If not the Stradbroke, Smerdon will keep the colt to his own age at the same meeting with a run in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) over a mile.
“The question is, do we run him in the Stradbroke – I think 1400m is his best distance – do we run him there with a light weight or do we keep him to his own age in the Queensland Guineas?” Smerdon said.
“He’s won a Group 2 race so maybe the lure of the Group 1 will be a factor. He’s still an entire so a Group 1 race status would be huge if he could achieve that.”
To back Oak Door next run and to check out all the latest Group 1 Brisbane racing odds and offers head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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