The Brisbane Racing Club will host the biggest event on the Queensland racing calendar this Saturday afternoon, with Stradbroke Handicap Day to be held at Eagle Farm Racecourse. The highlight events on the nine-race program will be the Group 1 JJ Atkins and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap, with every other race being at Listed or Group level. The track is currently rated a Soft 5, but with no rain on the forecast, we expect to race on a Good track for the whole program. The rail will be pushed out slightly to the +4m position for the entire circuit, with racing to kick off at 11:43am AEST.
Keep reading for our free race-by-race preview and quaddie selections
Race 1: Listed Oxlade Stakes (1300m)
The opening race of Stradbroke Handicap Day will be a Listed 1300m contest for two-year-olds, where the Tony Gollan-trained Certainlycan will be looking to build on her impressive debut run in the Listed Bill Carter Stakes three weeks ago. After jumping from barrier six, this daughter of Written Tycoon found herself trapped three-wide for the entire trip, and even though she was wide and ran further than most of her rivals, she made up plenty of ground and finished in third place. With the benefit of race experience and drawing barrier three on Saturday, we should see a much better performance from her second-up over slightly further. We are currently getting $11 with most online betting sites, so lets hope we can kick off our big day with some value in the opener.
The first of the Group races will be the Gunsynd Classic where the odds-on favourite from the Tony & Maddysen Sears yard Yellow Brick, looks extremely hard to beat. The three-year-old gelded son of The Mission needed to win the Fred Best Classic to get into the Stradbroke Handicap, but after he had to settle for second place behind Hawaii Five Oh, it was clear that he wasn’t going to gain a start. Going to the Gunsynd Classic on Saturday wasn’t the plan for the Sears’, but it seems as though he has found a very winnable race where he can take his record to seven wins from 10 starts. As always Ben Thompson will ride this rising star, and from barrier three he should be able to find the back of the speed before pulling away from his rivals in the final 300m of the race.
We opposed Antino last start when he had to lump 61.5kg from the widest barrier and we were made to look like a fool when he strolled over the line to record an easy win after leading from start to finish. Therefore, we will be back on his side this Saturday in the Wayne Wilson. This four-year-old gelded son of Redwood hasn’t been winning by far this preparation, but he has been winning arrogantly from the front, middle or back of the field. Just like the Sears’ with Yellow Brick, Tony Gollan was pushing for Antino to gain a start in the Stradbroke Handicap; however, his rating wasn’t high enough to gain a start, so he must settle for this race. With a small field of nine runners taking their place in this race, we expect to see this guy go to the front and sit outside Bigboyroy and try to replicate his last start win and extend his winning streak to five and his career record to eight wins from nine starts.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott will bring their last start winner Teofilo Star to Queensland to compete in the Brisbane Cup, after he destroyed his rivals in a Benchmark 100 Handicap over 2520m at Flemington last Saturday. This five-year-old gelding was given three starts over the hurdles to begin his campaign, winning two of those three before getting back on to the flat to extend his winning streak to three with a six-length victory at Flemington. There are no queries about this son of Teofilo running out the distance as he also owns a 15-length win over the hurdles over 3400m two starts back. Teofilo Star will gain the services of one of the best front running riders in Tim Clark, and from barrier one he should be able to find the rail and the lead with ease.
Even though The Inferno has struggled to win in recent times, this six-year-old gelding’s run in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup was a good run in defeat, after he into a few road blocks in the final 300m of the race and finished seventh. This Cliff Brown-trained runner has a very good record when he runs clockwise, winning eight of 11 starts when racing the Brisbane way of running, while he also has six wins from 12 starts at 1200m. Since arriving in Australia at the back end of 2021, this son of Holy Roman Emperor has raced in Group company for most of his starts, and in Listed grade he has won five of his seven starts, which makes him a great bet in the Listed Mark Hinkler Handicap. There appears to be an abundance of speed in this race and it should set up perfectly for Mark Zahra and The Inferno to swoop home down the outside in the final 300m of the race.
This year’s edition of the Q22 will feature runners coming through similar form lines, with the key form line being the Group 1 Doomben Cup, and that is the race that our top tip Duais ran very well in when first-up. After drawing barrier one and being sent around at $14 with most bookies, this daughter of Shamus Award ran out of her skin on her return to the racetrack, finishing fourth beaten by 1.5 lengths behind Huetor. With the benefit of that run under her belt and stepping up to 2200m second-up, we expect the Edward Cummings-trained mare to play a prominent role in the concluding stages of the event. Sam Clipperton will retain the ride after riding her last start, and if he can get her to settle off the rail in the middle of the field, Duais should get every chance to swoop down the outside late and stake her claim.
The 126th running of the Group 1 JJ Atkins will be the co-feature race on the program this Saturday, with a 17-horse field set to do battle over 1600m. The Chris Waller-trained Tanhauser opened as the $5 favourite with most online bookmakers, closely followed by Azula and Snapback who opened as equal second favourites at $7.50. Which of the runners will end their two-year-old season with their first Group 1 victory of their career?
The second of the co-features will be the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap, with the 129th running of Queensland’s richest race set up to be one of the best editions in some time. The Joseph Pride-trained Think About It is the clear favourite at $3 with online betting sites, with Hawaii Five Oh sitting on the second line of betting at $5. Will the favourite claim back-to-back Group 1’s, or will one of the star three-year-olds claim another feature race this season?
Luke Pepper will bring his very talented three-year-old filly Opal Ridge to Queensland for the first time in her career to take on the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes, after she dominated her rivals in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes at Scone last start. After failing on back-to-back Heavy tracks during The Championships at Randwick, this daughter of Rubick found a Good track at Scone and showed her class and blistering turn of foot to make up over six lengths in the final 200m to defeat a field full of older geldings. Tyler Schiller has found the winners circle twice from his three rides on this filly, and with him going back aboard and drawing a wide barrier, this race should set up perfectly for her. There will be a lot of speed, with four or five likely leaders, which should set up a solid tempo and allow Opal Ridge to go through her gears and use her turn of foot to run home strong from the back.