There will be a distinct South Australian flavour to Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap Day at Eagle Farm, with our local Group 1 winners, horses, trainers and jockeys all making their way north in search of Group 1 glory.
Goodwood winner Despatch will be aiming to recreate the feats accomplished by Santa Ana Lane last year when he claimed the Goodwood/Stradbroke double. The Tony McEvoy trained four-year-old is looking for win number five on the trot as well in the 1400m Group 1 Stradbroke. Adopted South Aussie Barend Vorster will jump back aboard Despatch after Todd Pannell claimed his maiden Group 1 aboard him at Morphettville last month. It will be his first go at the 1400m but you simply cannot knock his form as he aims to maintain his unbeaten campaign.
McEvoy will saddle up two runners in the feature, also accepting with dual Group 3 winner Dollar for Dollar. The six-year-old will be having his third Queensland start of the campaign after running third in the Doomben 10,000 and then last in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup. While his form has been a bit mixed, he did run second in last year’s Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes over the 1400m and cannot be written off. South Australian born superstar, Jamie Kah will once again take the ride on the gelding who she has ridden to six of his eight career wins.
Despatch will not be the only South Australian Group 1 winner in the Stradbroke with the Sangster winner, Spright also making the trip north for Gary Frazer. Spright was mighty close to claiming both Group 1 sprints across the Adelaide Festival of Racing as she flashed home to run third in the Goodwood. Champion jockey Glen Boss gets aboard the speedster after recently returning to Australia after a stint riding in Singapore.
The Streaky Bay Kid, Kerrin McEvoy will ride Trekking, the second favourite in the race for James Cummings and Godolphin. The four-year-old ran third in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup two weeks ago and off that run looks like the 1400m is going to suit him to a tee. Former South Australian based jockeys Joe Bowditch and Zac Spain also have rides in the big Group 1 with Bowditch taking the ride on the West Australian Man Booker, while Spain will ride Shane Nichol’s Streets of Avalon if it gains a start as second emergency.
The SA connection continues across the card with the SA Derby placegetters, Mr Quickie and Savvy Oak both lining up in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks. Mr Quickie is the second favourite in the race for Phillip Stokes and John Allen, while Savvy Oak looks a good each-way chance again at around the $20 mark. They will be joined by Mahis Angel from the Lloyd Kennewell stable who made his debut at Morphettville before heading across the border to Victoria.
Morphettville based Will Clarken has taken his mare Split Lip up to Queensland to contest the Listed Tinkler Handicap in Race 4. She ran fifth in the Group 3 Proud Miss Stakes on Goodwood Day behind Lady Cosmology. She’ll be ridden by Jamie Kah who will have her fifth race ride aboard the mare.