Trainer Kris Lees has been quick to send a message to officials after his horse Clearly Innocent demolished the Group One Kingsford Smith Cup field at Eagle Farm.
The first thing Lees said as he went into the enclosure on Saturday was: “Don’t move the Stradbroke Handicap to another track.”
The state of the Eagle Farm was again a major topic, with it chopping up despite the fact there had been no rain for a week.
There has been some talk the Stradbroke on June 10 would be moved but Brisbane Race Club officials have strenuously denied it will happen.
It was probably the reason Clearly Innocent, who had been second favourite in early markets, opened at $12 before being backed into $10 for the 1300m race.
Clearly Innocent showed the track was no worry when he beat the heavily backed Jungle Edge ($7 into $5) by three lengths, with 3-3/4 lengths to Counterattack ($6) in third place.
It was Lees’ fourth Group One win of the year and followed his victory in last week’s Group One Doomben Cup.
Clearly Innocent was previously trained by Greg Bennett, who was one of the first to congratulate Lees on the win.
Bennett retired from training to take up a position with Aquis Farms and Clearly Innocent has won two of his three starts for Lees.
“Greg looked after Clearly innocent very well early in his career and I am the one getting the benefit,” Lees said.
“It was a bit of a worry with the step up from Listed class at his last start win to a Group One but he has taken the step now.
“He’s a very good horse and it’s on to the (Group One) Stradbroke Handicap in a fortnight.”
Asked what weight he wanted for Clearly Innocent in the Stradbroke, Lees said: “Just enough so Hugh (jockey Bowman) can ride him.
Bowman said it had been a very good win by a promising horse.
“He was a query in the class today but I was confident I would take that step. He’s a really impressive horse. I wanted to be closer in the run but I didn’t want to push out of his comfort zone,” Bowman said.
Jockey Kevin Forrester said Jungle Edge had become a bunny for others to chase but it was a good run.
Brad Rawiller, who rode the favourite, Black Heart Bart, which ran fifth, said the ground had not suited the gelding and he was not at his best.