By Glenn Davis
Horror barriers for favourite Dawn Passage and last year’s winner Trekking have forced a major reshuffle in markets for the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Dawn Passage was elevated to Stradbroke favoritism following the colt’s dominant win in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Doomben last Saturday, but his price drifted from $4.00 to $4.50 after drawing the outside gate 23.
The three-year-old, who will carry only 50kgs, will come into 18 if the five emergencies don’t obtain starts.
Defending champion Trekking also drew the carpark in 22 which saw his price ease to $7.00.
Queensland’s best hope of winning the State’s most prestigious race also suffered a blow when the Tony Gollan-trained Vega One drew gate 20, while stablemate Outback Barbie fared better with barrier eight.
Toowoomba sprinter Niccanova remained a $21 chance after drawing gate 17 while Rob Heathcote’s Deep Image drew barrier 18 but will jump from 13 if the emergencies don’t run.
Last year’s runner-up Tyzone also drew badly in 21 while stablemate Winter Bride fared only a little better in 16.
Apart from Trekking, Godolphin drew barrier 10 with Kementari while Ranier drew 19 and Exhilarates four.
Exhilarates was the big market mover after the draw firming from $13 into $9 following her second to Dawn Passage in the Fred Best Classic.
Godolphin representative Vin Cox was disappointed with Trekking’s draw but remained hopeful the gelding could make it back-to-back wins.
“He’s one of the elite horses racing in Australia and he won this race last year,” Cox said.
“If you take away the barrier, we’re still confident with him.
“We’re delighted with Exhilarates and she’ll take up a nice position and should be hitting the line strongly.
“Ranier is in rare form and has only got 53kgs while Kementari hasn’t been doing the job we thought he would be doing now and is a bit of an enigma.”
Gollan was disappointed with Vega One’s wide gate and was hopeful Outback Barbie could end her poor Eagle Farm form.
“I’ll leave it to Jim Byrne from that alley with Vega One but provided he can get some cover he’s still a chance,” Gollan said.
“He loves the track and has a big finish.
“Outback Barbie hasn’t liked this new track at Eagle Farm but her best run on it was at her last start.
“Stepping up to 1400 meters should be more to her liking and she’s drawn well enough to get a good run.”
Racing Queensland webnews - June 3