Azkadellia ready to show her brilliant best in Stradbroke Handicap, says trainer Ciaron Maher

CIARON Maher says Stradbroke favourite Azkadellia is a more brilliant mare than her “brute’’ stablemate Srikandi who won the rich Queensland sprint last year.

Maher was more confident with Azkadellia after Tuesday’s Breakfast With The Stars trackwork at Eagle Farm than he was 12 months earlier with Srikandi heading into her date with Stradbroke destiny.

He feels Azkadellia has a more devastating turn of foot than Srikandi, the chomp-happy 2015 Stradbroke winner who could be such a menace she left bite marks all over her handlers.

“Srikandi was an absolute brute who would bounce out of the barriers, put herself on the speed and kick strongly,’’ Maher said. “Azkadellia is far more brilliant but, in turn, she has to race back in the field and needs some luck.

‘’If you weighed up the pros and cons of both, you would probably be left with about the same number of pros and cons for both.’’

Victorian trainer Maher has always been upfront and honest about Azkadellia’s winter prospects in Queensland, warning punters she would not be at her best in the recent Doomben 10,000.

Maher was spot on when his Group 1-winning mare surged from the back in a brutally run 10,000 but ran out of gas late and failed to reel in Music Magnate.

So it means punters should probably take heed when Maher declared the $4.20 Stradbroke favourite would be at her peak on Saturday and be perfectly suited by the expansive Eagle Farm track.

He also insisted the Doomben 10,000 run had improved her greatly and her coat was shining as she had a spin around Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning.

“The Doomben 10,000 run would have done her the world of good, it was just the fitness top-up she needed,’’ Maher said. “She didn’t do anything for the first half of that race, she basically fell asleep at the back of the field.
Ciaron Maher says Azkadellia has improved since her Doomben 10,000 run. Picture: Annette Dew

“She has always been a mare who has improved with racing and I am sure she is ready to show people what she can do on Saturday. She has one of the most explosive turns of speed of any horse I have trained.’’

Meanwhile, it appears Kaepernick is now likely to start in the Stradbroke after the Team Hawkes sprinter impressed in a Sunshine Coast barrier trial on Tuesday morning.

Kaepernick, an impressive winner at Scone last month, won his trial softly by more than two lengths. Christian Reith is set to take the ride in the Stradbroke.

Kiwi sprinter Sacred Star may also start in the Stradbroke despite being well beaten when he ran 11th of 13 in the BTC Cup last month.

The barrier draw for the $1.5 million Stradbroke will be conducted in the Eagle Farm mounting yard from 9.45 Wednesday.


Story courtesy Ben Dorries Brisbane Courier-Mail


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