The Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) is the headline act of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and there is enormous value to be found in this Saturday’s capacity field at Eagle Farm.
Last start Kingsford Smith Cup winner Vega One sits atop the market in search of back-to-back Group 1’s, followed closely by Doomben 10,000 runner-up Wild Planet and BRC Sprint place-getter Tofane.
The Edmonds team are looking to win the race for a second year in a row with 1400m specialist The Harrovian, while Chris Waller’s top chance looks to be Subpoenaed fresh from a break.
There is no shortage of excitement with $1.5 million on the line, and our thoughts on each horse can be found in our 2021 Stradbroke Handicap Preview here!
Dual Group 1 winner Mr Quickie will return to Eagle Farm on Saturday for the first time since his win in the Queensland Derby back in 2019.
After winning the Toorak Handicap during the spring, the son of Shamus Award has since resumed to run a place in the Futurity Stakes over the same trip at Caulfield first-up prior to a win two runs back in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap.
His record over this distance (four wins from seven starts) speaks for itself, but since he likes to get back and run on, barrier 1 does make him a slight query under James McDonald.
Savatoxl had his chance at a hat-trick denied two weeks ago in the Kingsford Smith Cup when he faded late for sixth after overcoming a similarly awkward gate.
The McEvoy-trained five-year-old caused a boil-over in The Goodwood last month when he gapped Instant Celebrity by two lengths as a $21 pop, so he does have to be respected getting out over further now.
Where he winds up from another tough draw remains the big question though.
It’s been over a year since Tofane last won a race, but the mare out of Ocean Park did show plenty in her last start when resuming to run half a length second to Emerald Kingdom in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben.
The five-year-old stormed home from well back in the field that day, a performance she’ll likely need to repeat after drawing a wide alley under Craig Williams.
This is her first look at Eagle Farm, but the fact she gas won and placed in as many starts over 1400m in her career makes her a worthwhile each-way play.
Imaging looked to be in for a successful campaign after resuming to run second to Streets Of Avalon in the C.F. Orr Stakes, but he’s since failed to finish anywhere close to the money in both the Newmarket Handicap and the All Aged Stakes.
The Chris Waller-trained six-year-old has been kept fresh for Saturdays run with a couple of trials in between. He looked in great order on the Gold Coast two weeks ago and his fresh record (two wins, three placings) also reads well.
He tends to do his best racing over 1400m but rates as nothing more than a knockout chance from the wide alley.
French raider Olmedo scored his first win in Australia two back in the Listed Tails Stakes at Doomben before finding the step back in trip a little too short in the BRC Sprint.
The six-year-old son of Declaration Of War was severely outclassed when resuming in the Doncaster Mile back in April and he’ll likely find this equally as tough.
So Si Bon
While he’s never actually won one, So Si Bon is a very experienced Group 1 horse that can sometimes get up and run a place in big races like this.
Unfortunately, his latest effort in the Kingsford Smith Cup left a lot to be desired when he finished second-last after racing just off the speed.
The barrier should be to his liking, but he’s tough to recommend off that effort.
Wild Planet put himself into Stradbroke calculations with a strong finish through the line for second behind Eduardo in the Doomben 10,000 first-up from a spell.
The Hawkes-trained gelding tends to do his best work in his second run back and he should relish the 1400m – a distance he’s won over four times previously.
The fact he’s been kept fresh with a three week break between starts is a big plus, but how he handles the wide gate in his first look at Eagle Farm remains the query.
Niccanova is back for another crack at the Stradbroke after finishing only half a length third to Tyzone in last year’s edition.
The Toowoomba trained gelding has won over this track and distance previously, but this does look another tough assignment for him after failing to overcome the wide gate in the Kingsford Smith Cup.
The son of Nicconi has drawn poorly again in barrier 14 and can only be recommended in exotics.
I Am Superman
I Am Superman is unplaced in four starts at Group 1 level and is tough to recommend based on his last start effort in the All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
The Snowden-trained five-year-old finished second-last to the winner Kolding over the 1400m and is likely to struggle in his first look at Eagle Farm.
Victorem strips fitter for his last start when fifth to Vega One in the Kingsford Smith Cup, and he does look capable of running a cheeky race at odds with two wins to his name at Eagle Farm.
The five-year-old battled home well after getting adrift down the straight and Mark DuPlessis does appear to have options jumping from barrier 8.
The son of I Am Invincible has raced well without winning this time in work and he does rate as a knockout chance over his preferred distance.
Vega One is out for redemption on Saturday after running fourth to Tyzone in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap.
The son of Lope De Vega has since gone on to reach new heights by winning last fortnight’s Kingsford Smith Cup, and this time around he’s drawn to get a much easier run in transit from barrier 4.
Jamie Kah proved the difference on the five-year-old in his last start as she weaved her way through traffic before pushing the button down the straight.
There’s plenty more speed engaged this time around, so if Rachel King can place him in a similar spot, he’s going to be tough to beat getting out to his preferred trip.
The Harrovian was very strong through the line in his Group 1 debut when third in the Doomben 10,000 a few weeks ago.
Like usual, he’s been kept fresh for Saturday’s run and is no doubt one of the main dangers with four wins from six starts over 1400m to his name.
The seven-year-old by Fastnet Rock has developed something of a cult following in Brisbane and he should be afforded every opportunity to claim Group 1 glory if Glen Boss can make use of the wide draw and settle him off the speed.
Signore Fox was the surprise place-getter in the Kingsford Smith Cup when he worked home from well back in the field to finish only half a length third to Vega One.
The son of Exceed and Excel really hasn’t put a foot wrong throughout the autumn, but this looks an even tougher assignment for him after drawing the carpark.
Emerald Kingdom bounced back nicely from a disappointing start in the Group 2 Victory Stakes to win the BRC Sprint by a comfortable margin at Doomben last month.
The Robert Heathcote-trained gelding has found the money in both of his previous starts over this track and trip, but this remains a much tougher assignment for him rising to Group 1 level for the first time.
Madam Rouge finished of only fairly for sixth first-up in the Listed Coughlan Stakes a fortnight ago, and while she’ll likely appreciate the rise to 1400m, this still looks a touch beyond her.
Subpoenaed showed real improvement for second in the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville last time out and rates as the top chance for trainer Chris Waller.
The four-year-old mare has won twice previously over 1400m and tends to do her best work when fresh. Worth a thought in multiples despite the wide draw.
Master Jamie absolutely loves racing at Eagle Farm where he’s won three times previously, but this does look a tough assignment for him facing Group 1 company for the first time.
The son of Poet’s Voice was no match in the BRC Sprint over a similar trip and would need to improve significantly to be a factor.
Apache Chase entered Stradbroke calculations with an all-the-way win in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic two weeks ago after finishing a narrow runner-up to Private Eye over the mile in the Queensland Guineas.
This is a much tougher assignment up in class, but he should look to make his own luck on speed and his recent form is hard to fault.
Outback Barbie finished off only fairly in the Kingsford Smith Cup to remain winless in eight starts at Eagle Farm.
Appears tested if he should make it in as the first emergency.
Amish Boy has placed in all four of his starts over 1400m but would need luck to go his way as the second emergency.
Blazejowski was no match in the Kingsford Smith Cup, beaten 3.5L by Vega One.
He is a three-time winner over this trip but is unlikely to earn a spot.