Thu, Jun 8, 4:07pm by Staff Writer
It’s typically Eagle Farm’s biggest race day but on Saturday Doomben will host Stradbroke Day for the second time in three years. The rail is out half-a-metre after being out five metres last week and the track is expected to be in the good range.
A capacity field of 16 plus five emergencies have accepted for the Group 1 Stradbroke (1350m) with popular runners The Virginian ($31) and Bonny O’Reilly ($12) the first two emergencies. Top weight, Clearly Innocent ($4.80) has opened as the favourite for the race but has drawn wide in barrier 20. The five-year-old gelding – now in the hands of Kris Lees – has won nine of his 15 career starts, two of those wins being at his last two runs. He was super impressive when taking out the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Stakes (1300m) a fortnight ago on a heavy Eagle Farm track with a strong win in the Listed Luskin Star (1300m) at Scone before that.
Chris Waller and Darren Weir are fighting out the Group 1 trainers title and both take three into the Stradbroke. Mackintosh ($7.50) and Good Project ($26) are both fresh for Waller while Counterattack ($8) comes into Saturday off three placings – his last two at Group 1 level. Mackintosh is two from two when first-up and will be suited by the handicap conditions while Good Project is a G1 winner and is first-up since his second in Perth’s Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) back in November.
WATCH: Our Preview of this weekend’s racing
Ulmann ($9) is Weir’s best chance according to the markets and heads into Saturday off a third to Jungle Edge in the G3 BRC Sprint (1350m) after winning the Listed Wangoom (1200m) at Warrnambool before that – both which were run on a heavy track. Stablemate Burning Front ($17) is in a rich vein of form winning seven of his last eight while Rageese ($34) has two ‘duck eggs’ next to his name but was a winner when fourth-up last campaign.
In Her Time ($18) was a brave fifth to Redzel in the G1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) a month ago when posted wide throughout but has drawn wide again in barrier 17. Impending ($16) has drawn next to her in 18 while Derryn ($15) has drawn the widest for an in-form Team Hayes/Daberning. Jungle Edge ($9.50) has two wins and three Group 1 placings this campaign and he’s one who’ll enjoy any give in the ground while Hooked ($26) is racing well in lower grade but has been competitive in this type of company in the past.
Chris Waller took seven runners into last week’s Oaks – which he won with the favourite, Egg Tart – and he’ll take four into Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m). Darren Weir has three in the race with New Zealand’s Shocking Luck the $5 favourite in an open market.
It’s a different story in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) for the juveniles where Shocking Luck’s stablemate Melody Belle is a $2.10 favourite. She’s a winner of four from six with a strong last start win at Eagle Farm in the G2 Sires (1400m). Waller gets his chance to pinch a break on Weir in the G1 count with two runners in the 2YO feature (Weir has none) but outside the favourite only a few runners are under double figure odds.
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