By Glenn Davis
The Brisbane winter carnival steps up a gear with the first Group races of the carnival at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The Group 2 TAB Victory Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) sees an influx of interstate raiders spearheaded by star sprinter Redzel in the Victory Stakes.
Redzel has not won in three starts this campaign and will be out to redeem his last start sixth to Santa Ana Lane in the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 6.
Redzel launched his career as one of the nation’s top sprinters by winning the Doomben 10,000 in 2017 enroute to his famous victory in Group 1 The Everest at Randwick and Group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington that year.
Redzel won The Everest for a second time last year when the $13 million race was run on a heavy track at Randwick.
The Victory Stakes has been a difficult race for mares to win with only four winning since the race was first run in 1980 when it was known as the Sir Byrne Hart Stakes.
The last successful mare was the Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi in 2015 which ended an 11-year drought since Let’s Hurry’s victory in 1994.
The only previous mares to win were Finezza Belle in 1988 and Keep Safe in 1982.
Sydney mare, the David Pfeffer-trained I Am Excited will be joined by locals Stella Victoria and Winter Bride who are attempting to join the select group of successful mares in the Victory Stakes.
Winter Bride has an excellent record of nine wins and five placings from 19 starts and is coming off a short Sydney campaign.
The four-year-old won two Group 3 races in Melbourne last spring as well as the Group 3 Wenona Girl (1200m) at Randwick on March 9 before a last start third in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at Randwick on April 13.
Trainer Toby Edmonds is pleased with the way the daughter of Not A Single Doubt has come through her interstate trip and expects another strong performance.
“She’s in good form and it’s not a big field which suits,” Edmonds said.
“There looks to be good speed in the race so she should settle back off the pace and be hitting the line strongly.”
Edmonds is aiming Winter Bride for the $500,000 Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 22.
“The Tatt’s Tiara is her ultimate aim but she’s got plenty of racing left in her,” he said.
“If, at any stage, she shows signs she’s had enough we’ll pull up stumps and go to the spring with her.”
Racing Queensland webnews April 24