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Vega One headlines the entries for the BRC Sprint

The BRC Sprint usually plays an important part in the winter carnival but this year has developed into the unofficial sprint championship for Queensland-trained horses.

The Group Three race has usually been run three weeks before the Group One Stradbroke Handicap and on Doomben Cup day.

River Lad completed the BRC Sprint/Stradbroke double in 2014 while last year’s BRC Sprint winner Tyzone went on to run second in the Stradbroke.

The distance has been shortened from 1350m to 1200m this year with the winter carnival drastically reduced because of the impact of COVID-19 on wagering revenue.

Racing Queensland has programmed only two Group One races, the Stradbroke Handicap and J J Atkins for two-year-olds.

It has also reduced the number of Group and feature races in response to coronavirus restrictions.

There were 14 nominations for the BRC Sprint taken on Monday with Goldolphin’s Kementari and Port Macquarie gelding Victorem the only interstate entries.

Vega One, Outback Barbie, Tambo’s Mate, Tyzone, and Deep Image all have claims to being the current best Queensland-trained sprinter.

Vega One was an unlucky fourth first-up over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on April 25.

He is already in the Stradbroke field thanks to his win in The Gateway in December which gained him ballot-free entry to the big Group One race.

“Vega One will be much better suited at 1200 metres and then further while Outback Barbie has trialled well and is good first-up,” trainer Tony Gollan said.

Trainer Stuart Kendrick said Tambo’s Mate was also looking for more ground after his last-start second to Just Orm in the same Sunshine Coast race Vega One contested.

“It was just the way the programming fell but his run was good behind a smart 1000 metre horse,” he said.

Co-trainer Toby Edmonds said Tyzone would be fitter for his first-up unplaced run in the Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick last month.

The Robert Heathcote-trained Deep Image is also back from being unplaced in the Hall Mark Stakes when he over-raced in the middle stages.

Heathcote’s other Stradbroke hopeful, Emerald Kingdom, could resume in the Chief De Beers Handicap at the Sunshine Coast on Friday week.

Nearly all runners in the BRC Sprint are expected to move on to the Group Two Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on May 23 as a final Stradbroke lead-up.

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