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Coolring will audition for a Stradbroke Handicap

Coolring will audition for a Stradbroke Handicap when he lines up from a wide gate at Rosehill.

The six-year-old gelding drew the outside gate for the Octagonal Handicap, but it’s an obstacle he has negotiated before with some success.

Encouragingly for Bjorn Baker, Coolring scored from gate 13 in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup on the Gold Coast last year and Baker has taken Saturday’s barrier in his stride.

“We’re looking to go forward anyway so it doesn’t make any difference,” he said.

“I think he’s ready to peak third-up.”

Baker has apprentice Deanne Panya booked to take advantage of a 2kg claim that leaves Coolring carrying 54.5kg over the 1400m.

Track conditions are also likely to be favourable with Rosehill classified in the good range on Wednesday.

Baker says Coolring brings the right form to Rosehill.

Coolring was a last-start sixth in the Listed Luskin Stakes at Scone, finishing three lengths behind Clearly Innocent, winner of the Group One Kingsford-Smith Cup.

However, he admitted Coolring would have to win to earn a trip to Queensland, where Ipswich was the likely destination unless he was a convincing victor on Saturday.

“If he happened to win we might look at taking him up to Queensland but very much one step at a time,” Baker said.

“He’s still in the Stradbroke but he’d have to win and win well.”

Baker already has Bonny O’Reilly settled in Brisbane and targetting the 2017 Stradbroke Handicap, a plan that intensifies on Saturday when the four-year-old mare lines up in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben.

Bonny O’Reilly, a $21 chance for the Stradbroke on TAB fixed odds, ticked off two benchmark races in Sydney earlier this month and faces a step up in class on her Queensland debut.

“We’ve always had a good opinion of her and she’s a bit stronger now. She’s going really well but she’s got to step up again on Saturday,” Baker said.

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