Stradbroke Handicap Day looks set to be a ripper with three Group 1s to look forward to at Eagle Farm.
We take a look at the three features – the Stradbroke, Queensland Derby and JJ Atkins – and pick out the best bets for each of them.
We also have the best chances for racing at Flemington and Randwick.
Race 6 – JJ Atkins
One horse really caught the eye in the Sires’ Produce at Eagle Farm and now looks extremely hard to beat in the JJ Atkins at the same track. ACCESSION ($3.50 MadBookie) was unlucky finishing 2nd and was clearly the one to follow into the JJ Atkins and he looks the value. Blake Shinn, who has based himself in Queensland throughout the Brisbane Winter Carnival, takes the ride and has been in great form, and he’ll be looking to slot in around midfield from barrier 9 before launching late.
Race 7 – Queensland Derby
The Chris Waller-trained NOBU ($4.60 MadBookie) hasn’t looked back since making the trip across the Tasman. Since arriving at the Waller stables, he has two wins and a second placing to his credit and has peaked at the right time for a crack at the Derby. Two starts back, he embarrassed a BM78 field at Randwick (on the Kensington track), putting more than four lengths on them in the 1800m event. Then last start, he carried 59.5kgs to victory in a BM74 at Randwick, grabbing Carif on the line over 2000m. If he brings that Sydney form here, he will prove very hard to beat again.
Race 8 – Stradbroke Handicap
While most eyes will be on the Tony Pike-trained The Bostonian, it’s his less fancied stablemate that is capable of causing an upset. ENDLESS DRAMA
($12.00 MadBookie) a went around at $61 in the Kingsford-Smith Cup where he came from near last in the straight to finish 1.7 lengths from The Bostonian. He was coming off a 1600m win in New Zealand which was his last run for Chris Waller before being transferred to Pike. Last time Endless Drama went from 1300m to 1400m was in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes where he defeated Global Glamour and Comin’ Through. As any Group 1 should be, this is a tough event with many chances, but at the odds, I’m happy to be with a lightly-weighted horse that had no luck and ran super figures last start.
The Tom Hughes-trained LEITER ($2.70 MadBookie) is a horse with serious ability and he looks an outstanding bet at $3.00 here. He towelled up Bam’s On Fire on debut at Bendigo, bolting in by 4.8 lengths. He then went to Caulfield and in my opinion, Lachie King went too slow on him early and although he looked like having every chance, I believe he was unsuited and still only just missed behind the ill-fated Columbus Circle and beat home Propelle who has those Bam’s On Fire and William Thomas formlines. The last Flemington meeting was a fortnight ago and it was a huge advantage to be on the inside in the straight races. Leiter is drawn barrier one and the speed on should actually help, with Lachie King forced to roll along which will suit this horse. I’m confident he wins.
This is a big drop in class for ITZ LILY ($5.00 MadBookie) who was beaten 1.5 lengths in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben last start. She was a bit flat in the finish and I’m not sure she genuinely ran the trip in that class. The drop back to 1800m in this lower rated event looks ideal, and she also carries half a kilogram less. She’s drawn to get a soft run from barrier 5 and looks hard to beat.