The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The money continues to roll in for the Joseph Pride-trained Think About It who chases consecutive Group 1 Brisbane wins as the well-backed favourite in Stradbroke Handicap 2023 betting this weekend.
Saturday see’s Queensland’s richest race light-up Eagle Farm Racecourse when a line-up of the winter’s best middle-distance runners faces off in the Group 1 $3 million The Star Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Since the final field was announced on Tuesday the most consistently-backed runner is Think About It looking for an incredible seventh straight turf triumph.
The four-year-old son of So You Think proved he was a genuine Group 1 horse last time out winning the Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) here a fortnight ago.
He now needs to improve again up to 1400m presenting fit third-up from a good gate with Sam Clipperton continuing associations.
Think About It carried 59kg at WFA to beat Converge last time out and the top-class sprinter looks a huge chance to win again and add to his impressive record down to 54kg in the Straddie as the $3 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Despite a capacity Stradbroke Handicap field just two other runners are currently under $10 in the markets with star young colt Hawaii Five Oh ($5.50) and the Kingsford Smith Cup runner-up Converge ($8).
Since Sincero back in 2011 the only three-year-old Stradbroke Handicap winner was Impending in 2017.
Hawaii Five Oh has support to be the next for last year’s winning stable.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott won the Stradbroke with Alligator Blood in 2022, and this year they look to have a genuine winning chance again with a son of I Am Invincible.
The up-and-comer has an excellent 1400m record (4:2-1-0) and comes off back-go-back Group 3 wins against his own age over the distance.
He was huge as the three-length Hawkesbury Guineas winner two back before saluting at this track and trip on May 27 in the Fred Best Classic.
After carrying 57kg last start Hawaii Five Oh is sure to relish the drop right back to 49.5kg, and he is drawn a treat in gate three with Rachel King to ride.
Converge is wider out with barrier 17 from the same stable with the four-year-old son of Frankel looking at peak fitness at the right time.
He has a lovely Eagle Farm record (3:1-2-0), but hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since his Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) win over Anamoe back in March of 2022.
The early Stradbroke Handicap market mover meanwhile backed right in from $41 to $16 to challenge the single-figure fancies is the James Cummings-trained Vilana donning the famous Godolphin Royal Blue.
Ace hoop James McDonald has the ride on the four-year-old Hallowed Crown entire who is looking to improve on his sixth in the Kingsford Smith Cup.
He chases his first win since carrying 58kg to victory in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) win the wet at Randwick in mid-April, and Vilana has previous winning form at Eagle Farm.
There’s been a tickle of money for the fellow Cummings-trained Aft Cabin ($13 into $11) with the spruik Astern colt eye-catching when fourth only 1.49 lengths off The Everest hero Giga Kick last time out in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) on May 13.
Rob Heathcote’s local hope Rothfire, third in the Kingsford Smith Cup last time out, is also still in the mix ($17 into $15) despite drawing the far outside alley and carrying the 57kg top-weight.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes winning filly at Morphettville last time out, Ruthless Dame, is on the drift out from $9 to $12 to measure up here.
She’s had 35 days between runs and is joined in the field by her fellow last start Group 1 winning stablemate, Royal Merchant ($23), who took out South Australia’s The Goodwood over six furlongs by a long-neck on May 20.
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