Stradbroke Handicap 2015: Experts claim premier sprint rated a stronger edition than last year

Boban (left) outguns his rivals to claim the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 two weeks ago. Pictur

Boban (left) outguns his rivals to claim the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 two weeks ago. Picture: Jono Searle

RATINGS experts have rubbished claims this year’s Stradbroke Handicap is low on quality suggesting the Group 1 feature is stronger than last year and is set to rate almost on par with the 10-year average.

Saturday’s Stradbroke field has already received plenty of criticism for a perceived lack of depth and there’s no doubt the Brisbane Racing Club would have hoped for a stronger line-up with the race worth $2 million for the first time this year.

Only five Group 1 winners are set to line up in the Stradbroke this year compared to six last year and seven the year before.

But Racing And Sports’ Adam Blencowe said this year’s race was set to rate almost on par with the average Timeform strength rating of the Stradbroke over the past decade.

“We only have a predicted figure for this year at this stage but it is better than last year which was a below par year,” he said.

“Last year the race rated at about 116.4 and on average the race is sitting at 121 over the last 10 years.

“This year assuming the right horses run well, it is probably going to rate at about 120.

“So it is on the soft side of the average but it is pretty much up to scratch and it’s just a shame that a few out of form horses are holding up spots and horses like Lumosty might not get in the field.”

The result is far from ideal considering the Stradbroke increased in prizemoney from $1.36 million to $2 million this year.

But it’s not the worst result due to the special circumstances surrounding the race this year.

The forced shift of the race from Eagle Farm to Doomben this year would no doubt have scared some interstate horses off, while major hopes Najoom and Trust In A Gust were only ruled out of the race due to injury.

Then there’s the fact Australia’s sprinting ranks are considerably thin at present due to a spate of young horses being retired to stud in recent months.

Boban works on the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning: Picture: Mike Batterham

Boban works on the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning: Picture: Mike Batterham

Chris Waller actually feels the Stradbroke is rediscovering its mojo and said his two runners — topweight Boban and Delectation both wouldn’t be in the race this year if it wasn’t worth $2 million.

“It was a 50-50 call with Boban and the prizemoney was the telling factor,” he said.

“I’m sure that’s why Lumosty and Srikandi are there and that’s why Delectation is there.

“If Brazen Beau was a gelding he wouldn’t be going to Royal Ascot and he would be running in the Stradbroke as well.

“I think the race was losing its impact a few years back but I reckon it has changed the last few years and it’s coming back the right way again.”

The peak strength rating of the Stradbroke in the last 10 years was 123.2 when Black Piranha won in 2009.

The lowest rating was 110.8 when La Montagna saluted in 2006.

 

Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin  http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/stradbroke-handicap-2015-experts-claim-premier-sprint-rated-a-stronger-edition-than-last-year/story-fnii0njy-1227380116265

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