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Today's Eagle Farm Preview with Chris Scholtz: 15th June 2024

3 minute read

Chris Scholtz previews the Stradbroke Handicap meeting at Eagle Farm on June 15 with feature race analysis, selections and best bets.

VILANA
VILANA Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

EAGLE FARM - June 15

STRADROKE HANDICAP ANALYSIS

Fair to say this is not a vintage Stradbroke Handicap and for that reason there are numerous chances at value odds.

It could be third time lucky for the consistent Godolphin sprinter/miler (6) VILANA after his scintillating win under 56kg in last Saturday's G2 Moreton Cup (1200m) at this course.

VILANA, now a 5YO, has run in the last two Stradbrokes, finishing eighth in 2022 and tenth last year under 56kg. He's gets in this year with only 53kg (how?) as he could not be re-handicapped for last Saturday's win where he returned new peak rating figures way above his previous efforts in this race and comparable to most of the better Stradbroke winners over the last two decades. 

If VILANA is ever going to win a G1 race this is his best chance. He's gone to a new level since being gelded but there is a sobering negative as no horse has been able to win the Stradbroke after a victory in the Moreton Cup (formerly the QTC Cup) despite the latter being recognised as a key lead-up race.

To back up his claims the historical stats show that no horse has carried more than 56kg to win the Stradbroke since Rough Habit in 1992 and 15 of the last 22 winners were carrying 54kg or less.

Victorian pair (10) AMENABLE and (7) HERE TO SHOCK have excellent form credentials and appeal as the right types to run to their best under the handicap conditions.

AMENABLE's G1 form under WFA conditions includes carrying 59kg when a fighting second to Stradbroke rival MAGIC TIME on a heavy track in the All-Aged Stakes (1400m) at the Randwick autumn carnival. He followed up with a nose second in the Scone Cup (1600m) under 60kg and is clearly another well weighted candidate with ratings that match the historical profile of a Stradbroke winner.

HERE TO SHOCK staked a strong Stradbroke claim with his hard finish to beat FREEDOM RALLY by a lip in in the G3 BRC Sprint over 1350m at Doomben, form that was franked by the runner up going on to finish fourth in the G1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1200m) at weight-for-age..

While only one BRC Sprint winner has gone on to win a Stradbroke there is a good case for HERE TO SHOCK as he is a 1400m specialist with six wins over the distance including a G3 at Caulfield in April. He also has a favourable weight with 4kg less than he carried at Doomben and is drawn to enjoy a cheap run from the rails barrier.

(3) ANTINO is a class act and while he will get no favours from his deep barrier he is another certain to appreciate carrying 54kg under the handicap conditions as he has carried less than 57kg only once in his last 10 starts.

This has been his winter carnival target race as he is another Eagle Farm star with five wins from seven starts at the course including two from three at 1400m. His spring form also included a G3 win over 1500m at Sandown beating HERE TO SHOCK.

Wider chances for exotic players include (8) NUGGET, proven G1 mare (4) BENEDETTA and the classy Sydney filly (19) STEFI MAGNETICA, a daughter of the 2012 Stradbroke winner Mid Summer Music.

NUGGET has not won a race since December of 2022 but he's been luckless in some major G1 events including two Doncaster Miles. His last start 12th under 59.5kg in the Scone Cup (after a close fourth in the Doncaster at Randwick) was a complete forgive run as he was badly blocked from the home turn and was never tested at any stage. He's been kept fresh as he performs best with his race spaced and is another who will relish getting down in the weights.

Honest mare BENEDETTA got a deserving G1 win in the Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville last month. She's a genuine sprinting mare suited by a fast pace but is yet to prove herself at 1400m and while she is certain to get every chance from a good gate it will be a challenge for her to win the Stradbroke with only 1kg less. It should be noted she has an important gear switch from blinkers to visors.

STEFI MAGNETICA has been G1 placed against her own sex and keeps over achieving with some excellent lead-up performances including her first-up fourth against the top older sprinters in the G1 Doomben Ten Thousand.  She's sure to run well under 50kg as she strives to be the first 3YO filly to win the Stradbroke since 2006.

CHRIS SCHOLTZ STRADBROKE SELECTIONS

(6) VILANA; (10) AMENABLE; (7) HERE TO SHOCK; (3) ANTINO

For the Exotics: (10) Nugget; (4) Benedetta; (19) Stefi Magnetica

AMENABLE
AMENABLE Picture: Racing Photos

EAGLE FARM PREVIEW with Chris Scholtz – June 15

Selections and best bets from Chris Scholtz for the Stradbroke meeting at Eagle Farm on June 15.

Best Bet

RACE 2: (5) PEREILLE – Hard to fault a gelding who has missed a place only once in 15 starts including four wins over this distance. I'm sure this has been a target race for this 4YO after he was sent north to record a resounding first-up win by four lengths under 59.5kg on a heavy track at Caloundra five weeks ago. An impressive trial win back at home at Hawkesbury on June 3 ensures he will be at his peak for his return to Queensland.

Best Value

RACE 9: (3) LIGHT INFANTRY MAN – Classy import was having only his second Australian start when he resumed in the Scone Cup over 1600m with his strong closing surge under 61kg a precursor to what lies ahead. A second up win will not surprise as he is a genuine G1 performer and will appreciate the set weight conditions over this trip. Goes without saying that he's under the care of a trainer adept at getting the best out of this type of import.

Selections

RACE 1: (1) FREEDOM RALLY; (7) Poison Chalice; (3) Charterhouse; (5) Iknowastar

RACE 2: (5) PEREILLE; (13) Willinga Beast; (10) Midnight In Tokyo; (8) Miss Hellfire 

RACE 3: (5) DEPTH OF CHARACTER; (8) Don't Forget Jack; (1) Embassy; (11) Heinous

RACE 4: (7) MOSTY CLOUDY; (5) Alegron; (2) Amade; (3) Selino

RACE 5: (3) RAZORS; (9) Geriatrix; (2) Amur; (1) Chrysaor

RACE 6: (1) BROADSIDING; (10) Mr Artemisia; (6) Imperialist; (7) Smashing Time 

RACE 7: (6) COEUR VOLANTE 1; (4) Coco Jamboo; (9) Chinny Boom; (12) C'Est Magique

RACE 8: (6) VILANA; (10) Amenable; (7) Here To Shock; (3) Antino; (10) Nugget; (4) Benedetta

RACE 9: (3) LIGHT INFANTRY MAN; (15) Fawkner Park; (18) Amokura; (5) Kovalica    

HERE TO SHOCK
HERE TO SHOCK Picture: Racing Photos

Why They Can Win….

RACE 1: (1) FREEDOM RALLY - Super record at this course. Well placed after his latest G1 effort.

RACE 3: (5) DEPTH OF CHARACTER - Lot of merit in his debut win after a poor start. Track and distance will suit.

RACE 4: (7) MOSTY CLOUDY - Genuine stayer favoured by the weights. Trust his Flemington form to stand up.

RACE 5: (3) RAZORS - Rates to win on his Queensland Guineas second. Excuses last time and strong trial since.

RACE 6: (1) BROADSIDING - Class act with superior form.

RACE 7: (6) COEUR VOLANTE: Excellent closing sectional when resuming over shorter trip. Unbeaten second up.

RACE 8: See Stradbroke Preview


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