The Stradbroke Handicap meeting will be held at Eagle Farm this Saturday (11th Jun). The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with fine weather in Brisbane leading up to the weekend, Eagle Farm will be racing on a Good track on raceday.
Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller and jockey James McDonald can combine with Great House to take out the Q22 at Eagle Farm (Brisbane Race 6, 2200m). The Galileo gelding has been freshen up since the Chairman Handicap in the autumn and Great House has returned with a good 2nd in the Gosford Cup before an eye-catching 4th in the Group 1 Doomben Cup, finishing only one and a half lengths behind Huetor. Stepping up to 2200m will suit even better. The 5YO will be ridden back in the field so the wide gate should not be a disadvantage. With reasonable pace in the race, Great House will be charging down the Eagle Farm straight. Currently at $14.00 fixed odds, Great House represents a good value bet.
Team Snowden has been on fire during the Brisbane winter carnival and they look set to add the Group 1 J.J. Atkins to the trophy cabinet with smart filly Sheeza Belter (Brisbane Race 7, 1600m). The 2YO filly has been performing well since arriving in Queensland. Sheezer Belter finished 3rd in the Ken Russell Memorial before running home strongly to take out the Sires’ Produce Stakes last start, indicating that the mile should suit her. With the pace of the race all having drawn wide, William Pike should be able to slot in just behind the leading bunch and Sheezer Belter looks set to complete the Sires’ Produce – J.J. Atkins double.
Top Warwick Farm trainer Greg Hickman has always had a good horse in his stable. Since the retirement of Pierata, Eleven Eleven has come to the fore and the gelding could well provide Hickman with a Stradbroke Handicap victory on Saturday (Brisbane Race 8, 1400m). After taking out the Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast in January, Hickman deliberately missed the autumn carnival with the 5YO and he seems to have come back in great order. Eleven Eleven was only beaten 0.5 length first-up in the Ortensia Stakes (under 61kg) before an eye-catching Stradbroke trial when he flashed home for 3rd in the WFA Kingsford-Smith Cup last start. Hugh Bowman will once again be on board and has drawn perfectly in barrier 5. With pretty good pace in the race, Bowman is going to bide his time just behind mid-field and Eleven Eleven will over-power this field in the run home.
By Owens Wong