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Hawk’s Saturday Selections – Stradbroke Handicap and Queensland Derby Day

June 8, 2013

The Brisbane winter carnival continues for another month, but it reaches its pinnacle today with Stradbroke Handicap day at Eagle Farm.

It is Queensland’s biggest day of racing and would be considered a phenomenal card anywhere in the country.

From now until the end of August (when the Memsie Stakes begins Group 1 proceedings for the 2013/2014 season), there is only the one Group 1 in Australia – that’s the Tatt’s Tiara in two weeks.

The next day with multiple Group 1 races at the one location is Super Saturday at Royal Randwick, the first Saturday in October, where there are three Group 1 races – the Epsom Handicap, the Metropolitan and the Flight Stakes.

The Spring Champion Stakes, formerly on Super Saturday, is now a week later.

So, as racing fans, we have to enjoy top quality racing while it lasts. It may not be long until the end of August, but the mid-winter period always seems to drag.

Today’s racing will whet the appetite for terrific action in the spring.

The Stradbroke Handicap, undoubtedly Queensland’s best race, is

It may not be the best edition of the race, although I still think it is pretty good, but it is incredibly open and almost any horse could win the race without surprising.

The boom around the three year olds this season has been huge, but I’m inclined to think there are a number of horses who can end their dominance.

The staying three year olds go around in the Queensland Derby, a race which can throw up a classy stayer.

For a large field, I think there may only be four or five legitimate winning hopes. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those horses go on to bigger things in the coming years.

The third Group 1 is the J J Atkins, formerly the T J Smith. It’s fitting that they’ve renamed the race after a Queensland legend, given T J now has a lucrative sprint in Sydney named for him.

I think the Sires Produce Stakes two weeks ago is the formline to follow, but which horse out of that race can win here? There is one horse I’m very keen on.

And although it isn’t a Group 1 race, I feel the Brisbane Cup deserves a mention. It is the one instance where reducing the distance from 3200m to 2400m has paid off.

Interestingly, it has been a great guide to the spring. Newport won The Metropolitan a year after his Brisbane Cup success, after equine influenza ruined his spring plans in 2007.

The following year, Viewed won the Melbourne Cup five months after his Brisbane Cup success, adding the Caulfield Cup in 2009.

Scenic Shot’s victory in 2009 set up a successful Melbourne spring where he won the Mackinnon Stakes and finished fifth in the Cox Plate, while the last two winners – Tullamore and Lights of Heaven – both finished third in the Caulfield Cup.

The only winner not to go on was Crossthestart, who injured himself and didn’t have the chance to campaign during the spring.

Barring injury, the connections of today’s Brisbane Cup winner will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

Here are my selections for Stradbroke Handicap day:

Race 1 – LISTED HAMPDEN STAKES (1200m)

7 – MISSY LONGSTOCKING
13 – COSMIC ENDEAVOUR
12 – MOROCCAN ROSE
8 – VIENNA QUEEN

Race 2 – LISTED STRAWBERRY ROAD HANDICAP (1600m)

3 – TRANSPORTER
6 – DIADEME
4 – JETSET LAD
1 – IBICENCO

Race 3 – LISTED DAYBREAK LOVER (1600m)

15 – OASIS ROSE
3 – LIMES
4 – PLATINUM KINGDOM
12 – SAINT OR SINNER

Race 4 – LISTED LIGTHNING HANDICAP (1000m)

6 – PENTASIA
12 – VINTAGE MOSS
1 – HOWMUCHDOYOULOVEME
3 – SATIN SHOES

Race 5 – GROUP 2 DANE RIPPER STAKES (1400m)

4 – STEPS IN TIME
11 – RISK AVERSION
12 – FIRE UP FIFI
16 – FLORIA

Race 6 – GROUP 1 J J ATKINS (1600m)

2 – VILANOVA
1 – ZOUSTAR
8 – PAXIMADIA
7 – ROMANTIC TOUCH

Race 7 – GROUP 1 QUEENSLAND DERBY (2400m)

4 – SURVIVED
18 – GONDOKORO
14 – ALI VITAL
3 – USAINITY

Race 8 – GROUP 1 STRADBROKE HANDICAP (1400m)

9 – SPIRIT OF BOOM
15 – FONTELINA
2 – EPAULETTE
7 – DECISION TIME

Race 9 – GROUP 2 BRISBANE CUP (2400m)

9 – ZURELLA
4 – QUINTESSENTIAL
18 – MIDSUMMER SUN
6 – LIGHTINTHENITE

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