Mick Bell is clinging to the hope the best wet-track horse in the race can still have Stradbroke Handicap conditions in his favour despite a venue shift.
Bell is preparing Jungle Edge for Brisbane’s premier sprint, but the Victorian trainer is unhappy the race has been switched from Eagle Farm to Doomben.
“It’s bad luck for us they have shifted to Doomben,” Bell told Sky Sports radio.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. What’s done is done but I really felt strongly about it.”
A below-par Eagle Farm surface would have played into Bell’s hands with Jungle Edge winning 11 races in soft and heavy going.
The most recent of those wins came in the BRC Sprint two starts ago, a Doomben victory that elevated Jungle Edge into Stradbroke reckoning.
A subsequent Group One placing in the Kingsford-Smith Cup confirmed his Stradbroke rating and Jungle Edge shares the fourth line of betting at $9.
“The horse has won (at Doomben) and there’s no reason why he can’t run a good race,” Bell said.
“There’s a chance we might even get some rain for Saturday (but) I’ll be happy going in so long as there is a little bit of cushion.”
Track manager Jim Roberts said Doomben was rated in the good range on Tuesday.
As part of the track’s preparation for Saturday’s meeting, Roberts had planned to irrigate the course on Tuesday.
“At this time of the year tracks are never rock-hard,” he said.
“I’ll give it a light water today and that will be it for the rest of the week.”
Jungle Edge has campaigned exclusively on heavy tracks throughout a seven-start campaign that has also included Group One placings either side of his win in the Star Kingdom Stakes in Sydney.
The Darren Weir-trained Ulmann completed his 2017 Stradbroke Handicap build-up with an eye-catching Sunshine Coast barrier trial on Tuesday.
Ulmann brushed home late in the trial 850m trial to finish second under stable jockey John Allen.
A placegetter in Jungle Edge’s BRC Sprint win, Ulmann is rated the best of Weir’s two Stradbroke runners as a $9 chance.
The Kris Lees-trained Clearly Innocent is a clear Stradbroke favourite at $3.60 ahead of Wednesday’s final acceptance and barrier draw.