Stradbroke Handicap 2015 race review

04 June 2015 16:03 PM

There's been alot written about this Saturday's $2 million Stradbroke Handicap with the 21 horse field touted as one of the strongest in a long time. The other news has come from the $5 favourite Lumosty who currently isn't starting, as she sweats on a scratching as first emergency in the race.

It will be interesting to see what punters do here. Clearly the odds change if and when Lumosty is confirmed a starter which probably gives some extra value to punters betting early in the race. That's usually a hard one to catch so lets concentrate on who looks the likely winner.

Doomben was rated a Good (4) on Thursday morning and should remain that way with sunshine forecasted through to Saturday. The 1350m course gives runners 450m to get settled in the running before taking the first turn. That's longer than the 314m Doomben straight, so good jockey's have ample opportunity to implement a go forward plan from wide barriers.

Lumosty has shown her class in her two runs this preparation proving superior to the older horses in those races. I think she gets better the further she runs up to 1600m so expect her to be firing. This race is certainly better than the horses she met in those runs but she drops 3.5kg as well. Very hard to beat if she gets a start.

Charlie Boy looks like a worthy contender after coming within a head of winning the Doomben 10,000 a few weeks ago. With 5kg less on his back he should make his prescense felt.

West Australian sprinter Black Heart Bart jumps from barrier 17 as he attempts to improve on his fast finishing fourth in The Goodwood (1200m). This distance is perfect on the back of that run. If jockey Glenn Smith can get him in with cover there should be enough speed in the race to give him a real chance of having a crack at them in the straight.

Generalife drew the short straw in the barrier allocation. He will jump widest giving Hugh Bowan a tough assignment. He's likely to ease him back from there but how far back does he settle? His form a long head behind Boban after racing wide rates well and with any luck he should be having a crack at them in the final stages

I found it hard to assess Delectation with several arguments for and against. No doubting the horse's ability with solid runs behind the likes of Scissor Kick, Brazen Beau and Bring Me The Maid. The two key negatives against him are the distance, with his only run over 1200m a very poor last in the Hobartville over 1400m. That was against a cracking field and he didn't enjoy the best of runs. Also doubt if a dry track brings out his best.

Knoydart looks a real contender after recent solid runs. He drops 5 kg and shouldn't get as far back jumping from barrier 4 this time. This might be his turn to win.

Boban back's up after his Doomben 10,000 win when he shocked most punters but certainly not his talented trainer Chris Waller. He proved that he's a real class horse and is always a chance. He gives some of those who finished close behind 4 to 5 kilograms which might be tough to make up.

Sacred Star will certainly strip fitter after his 3.6 lengths fifth behind Boban. He's a Group 1 winner in New Zealand and gets 4 kg weight relief which should make him more competitive.

Running out of excuses for Srikandi after missing the jump two starts ago to finish way out of the BTC Cup then she box seated in the Doomben 10,000 with plenty of opportunity to take the prize but didn't go on with it. Only case I can make after that performance is her 4 kg weight drop. Maybe third time lucky?

Of the others Lord Of The Sky has to be given some chance. The distance is the biggest question mark I have with him. His only run beyond 1200m wasn't bad but not conclusive for mine. BTC Cup winner Hot Sniztel also has claims. Expect him to get forward from his wide barrier and take a sit behind the leaders. Shinn should have him in a good position to attack them in the straight and is showing good value at $17 fixed odds. I am forgiving Big Money after getting squeezed for room last start and have him down as a strong chance again.

I am assuming Lumosty starts the race. There's some real value on the table at the moment that could disappear as the race draws closer. I am going with Big Money on top to win at $21. The speed maps indicate that he will get a chance to race much closer to the speed this week and I rate him very highly to make the most of that especially with his 5.5kg weight drop. Knoydart in for second and Lumosty third.

Mike Steward