Here To Shock books ticket to Stradbroke with BRC Sprint success

Here To Shock (outside) ridden by Michael Dee has taken out the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben. Photo: Darren Winningham

The team Hayes-trained Here To Shock (+700) has booked his ticket to the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) after fending off Freedom Rally (+400) in the shadows of the post to claim the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben on Saturday afternoon.

The six-year-old son of Shocking has always been a consistent-type, never missing the frame across his three starts heading into Saturday’s $300,000 feature.

Michael Dee was able to stalk the speed from barrier four, settling two-back and one-off the inside running rail to guide Here To Shock into the clear, chasing a strong tempo throughout the 1350m journey.

The same can’t be said for the luckless runner-up Freedom Rally, with the Tony Gollan-trained four-year-old bombing the start from barrier one, with Craig Williams forced to take his medicine towards the rear of the field.

It left punters with a grandstand finish to end the day at Doomben, as Here To Shock bounced off the canvas to claim victory, while Freedom Rally backers will need to wait until next start for the progressive gelding to make amends.

2024 BRC Sprint replay – Here To Shock

Co-trainer JD Hayes was on course to discuss the win, suggesting Here To Shock has gone to another level this campaign as he seeks to claim the BRC Sprint/Stradbroke double.

“Photo finishes haven’t really been going our way over the last six months so great to get the head down,” said Hayes.

“Brave effort by the horse, terrific ride and just super.

“I can’t thank Rob Heathcote and his team enough. They’ve let us stay and made us feel at home.

“This horse has really gone to another level and I was pleased he was able to cope with the speed. He was strong through the line.

“It is hard to do (the double) but he’s a horse in form and that is a force to be reckoned with. Maybe an upset this year.”

Michael Dee spoke for the second time after claiming the Pam O’Neil Stakes earlier in the afternoon and was delighted with the win.

“I thought I might have just held on,” said Dee.

“Good tough effort but I’m glad the winning post came up.

“I was very happy after two furlongs and there was speed coming across from out wide. It got messy there approaching the 1000-metres.

“Had to concede a position or else we would have been in an average spot. Glad it all worked out. It was tough to hold any challengers.”

Here To Shock is now a +1400 chance with top online bookmakers for the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 15.

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