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Impending must break records to win UBET Stradbroke Handicap

Defending UBET Stradbroke Handicap winner Impending will have to set a modern-day weight carrying record if he is to become the first horse since Black Piranha to go back-to-back in the famous sprint next month.

Racing Queensland Chief Handicapper Nathan Bourke said Impending had been allocated 57.5kg, which is 1.5kg under weight-for-age, after he stormed home to beat Le Romain in Saturday’s Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup.

Le Romain will be asked to carry the topweight of 58kg if trainer Kris Lees elects to run, setting up yet another mouthwatering clash between the pair.

“Impending has proven himself twice in Group 1 company under both handicap and weight-for-age conditions around the 1350m at Doomben and has been weighted accordingly. His form has been excellent and very consistent since last year’s win in the Stradbroke,” Mr Bourke said.

“Le Romain, a three time Group 1 winner who has been in excellent form this preparation, has been allocated 58kg. In previous years, he could have had a fraction more.

"However, we deemed that 58kg was appropriate due to a combination of dropping the limit by 1kg for this year’s race, coupled with the recent performances of topweights.

“If either Impending or Le Romain were to win the Stradbroke, they would set a new modern day weight-carrying record, outdoing Show A Heart’s effort (56kg) in 2002.”

Rough Habit (1992) and Campaign King (1988) are the highest weighted horses to win a Stradbroke with 58.5kg.

Although top weights traditionally struggle to win the Stradbroke, a number of quality horses carrying 58kg have managed to finish second in recent times, including Buffering (2013), Boban (2015) and Black Heart Bart (2016).

Promising three-year-old filly Champagne Cuddles was allocated 50kg after running third in the WFA G1 Kingsford-Smith, bringing her to 17th in the ballot, while Care to Think will carry 52.5kg.

Saturday’s Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club will be the last chance for connections to secure a ballot exemption for their horses aimed at the Stradbroke.

The meeting shapes as one of the most lucrative in the Sunshine Coast Turf Club’s history, with the $200,000 Group 2 PJ O’Shea Stakes joining a further five Listed races. It will also be the first time a Group race has been run under lights in Queensland.

The weights and ballot order can be viewed in full at the Racing Queensland website: http://www.racingqueensland.com.au/News-And-Guides/May-2018/UBET-Stradbroke-Handicap-weights.