Chris Waller’s high opinion of Counterattack was vindicated when the colt booked a Stradbroke Handicap start after his win in the Fred Best Classic at Doomben.
Waller has stated publicly he believes Counterattack is a Group One winner in the making and gets his chance to test that theory in the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
By winning Saturday’s Classic, Counterattack is exempt from a ballot for the Stradbroke.
James McDonald is convinced the colt will be highly competitive in the Stradbroke.
“He was strong through the line at the end of 1350 metres today and he’s right on track for the Stradbroke,” McDonald said.
“You need a horse with plenty of strength to win that race and he’s exactly the right type especially with the big weight drop in his favour.”
Counterattack’s win was anticipated with the colt heavily backed from $7 into $4.40 favouritism.
Despite travelling three-wide without cover for the trip, Counterattack was too strong for Takedown ($8) in scoring by 1-1/4 lengths with Perfect Dare ($31) three quarters of a length away third.
Takedown’s trainer Gary Moore is hoping the gelding can gain a start in the Stradbroke.
“He’s in the best condition he’s been this preparation and if we can somehow make it into the Stradbroke field he’ll definitely be running,” Moore said.
Damian Browne said fourth placegetter Tivaci was on target for the Group Two Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
Trainer Desleigh Forster will enter fifth placegetter Too Good To Refuse for the Stradbroke but is more likely to start the gelding in the Guineas.