The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The 2023 Stradbroke Handicap final field and barrier draw has been confirmed with the hot favourite Think About It drawing perfectly in gate 12 for the $3 million Brisbane feature this weekend.
Saturday at Eagle Farm is set to be huge with two elite level races offering a combined $4 million in stakes led by the Group 1 The Star Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
The field for Queensland’s richest race was confirmed earlier in the day before the all-important Stradbroke Handicap barrier draw taking place live from King George Square in Brisbane.
The airborne So You Think four-year-old has only lost one of his nine career starts.
He went to another level last time out at Eagle Farm winning the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) at weight-for-age.
Jockey Sam Clipperton retains the ride on Saturday with Think About It chasing the double and dropping right down in the Stradbroke weights to just 54kg to do so.
Think About It could come right into gate nine at best if all emergencies fail to gain a start.
Impending (2017) was the last three-year-old Stradbroke Handicap winner and this year Hawaii Five Oh is being kept safe in betting to be the next after his favourable barrier three draw.
The in-form I Am Invincible colt is at Stradbroke Handicap odds of $5.50 to make it three straight wins with Rachel King riding on just 49.5kg.
Hawaii Five Oh needs to go to another level here against the older horses but has been good winning the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) two back by over three lengths before his last start Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) success in Brisbane a fortnight ago.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Frankel four-year-old Converge is also at single figures in the latest Stradbroke markets at $7.50 despite a wider gate 17 draw.
Converge was back to his better form from the inside alley here when second at double-figures in the Kingsford Smith Cup.
The chances of a local Stradbroke Handicap win took a major blow with Rob Heathcote’s Group 1 winner and 57kg top-weight Rothfire drawing the extreme outside alley.
Connections drew barrier 23 for Rothfire who will jump from gate 18 of 18 with emergencies out on Saturday.
The weight is also a worry for Rothfire as no Stradbroke Handicap winner has carried more than 55.5kg to victory since Show A Heart (56kg in 2002).
He brings in some strong form lines however having won the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) two back before his brave third only a length beaten in the Kingsford Smith Cup with 59kg last start.
One of the big winners at the Stradbroke barrier draw was Ruthless Dame who pays $10 to become the second mare in three years to win after the 2021 victory of Tofane.
Ruthless Dame drew gate 13 and will start one outside the top elect on the weekend chasing back-to-back wins after the Tavistock filly’s excellent Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) win in Adelaide on May 6.
She is back in Group 1 grade in the sunshine state on Saturday with Michael Dee to ride on 52.5kg, a nice drop from the filly’s 55kg at Morphettville last start.
The powerhouse Maher/Eustace stable also saddle-up another last start Group 1 Morphettville winner with the same weight as Merchant Navy filly Royal Merchant ($15) chases a third consecutive win from barrier 14.
She was huge during a stellar autumn carnival in South Australia for the stable winning the Group 2 Tobin Bronze Stakes (1200m) – Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) double ahead of her Stradbroke bid.
Also being kept safe in betting are the likes of second emergency Opal Ridge ($12) as Luke Pepper’s Rubick filly sweats on a start and the Godolphin-raced Astern colt Aft Cabin ($13) looking to further frank the good form out of the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) after his fourth to Giga Kick back on May 13.
2023 Stradbroke Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x15285x213||ROTHFIRE||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||23||57kg|
|2||x413316x7x||SUPERSTORM||Lauren Abbott||James Orman||16||56.5kg|
|3||8x1810x176||VILANA||James Cummings||James McDonald||15||56kg|
|4||5251x311x4||SCALLOPINI||Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted||Boris Thornton||8||55.5kg|
|5||x6900x7302||CONVERGE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||17||55.5kg|
|6||1x16460x01||SURF DANCER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ryan Maloney||7||54.5kg|
|7||146×124700||GENTLEMAN ROY||Ben & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||2||54.5kg|
|8||30x5L92x70||ELEVEN ELEVEN||Gregory Hickman||Jason Collett||20||54.5kg|
|9||13x1111x11||THINK ABOUT IT||Joseph Pride||Sam Clipperton||12||54kg|
|10||3110×62113||CARDINAL GEM||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||6||54kg|
|11||76x1233x89||HOLYFIELD||Annabel Neasham||Damien Thornton||21||53.5kg|
|12||2121×15414||AFT CABIN||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||19||53kg|
|13||1254423211||ROYAL MERCHANT||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Thompson||14||52.5kg|
|14||11×3201||RUTHLESS DAME (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Michael Dee||13||52.5kg|
|15||1310×38994||CHAIN OF LIGHTNING||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||18||52kg|
|16||3x3220x420||PALAISIPAN||Chris Munce||Kyle Wilson-Taylor||11||52kg|
|17||x16161x947||TICK TOCK QUEEN||Tony Gollan||Ms Angela Jones (a)||4||51kg||81|
|18||139×2211||HAWAII FIVE OH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Ms Rachel King||3||49.5kg||101|
|19e||05x721x018||ALPINE EDGE||Toby & Trent Edmonds||Martin Harley||5||53kg|
|20e||28121×1451||OPAL RIDGE||Luke Pepper||Tyler Schiller (a)||10||49.5kg||50kg|
|21e||244x146x92||DRAGON LEAP||Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott||1||53kg|
|22e||28x67458x7||SINAWANN (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||9||53kg|
|23e||3111x12x12||YELLOW BRICK||Tony & Maddysen Sears||22||51kg|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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