A strong set of nominations have been taken for theÂ seven Group 1 races to be run during Brisbane’s winter carnival.
Undoubtedly, the headline act is champion mare Black Caviar, who has been nominated for the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on May 14 and the Group 1 Doomben 10000 (1350m) on May 28.
Nominations have also been taken for the Doomben Cup (2020m), the Queensland Oaks (2400m), the Queensland Derby (2400m), the T J Smith Stakes (1600m) and the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
First run as a Group 1 in 2006, it has continued to grow in stature as a logical stepping stone from the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes, also run at weight for age over 1200m, to the Group 1 Doomben 10000 over 1350m two weeks later. Who could forget the 2007 running, when Bentley Biscuit gunned down Takeover Target?Â Or what aboutÂ 2008, when Apache Cat scored the fourth of five Group 1 races that autumn/winter in this race – his other four being the Lightning Stakes, Australia (William Reid) Stakes, T J Smith Stakes and Doomben 10000?
This year’s edition could be the best yet, with Black Caviar a confirmed runner. Hay List is also likely if transport to Adelaide cannot be arranged, while MelitoÂ looks likely to run. Galaxy winner Atomic Force is also possibly running. The locals will also have a strong contingent, headed by last year’s winner Albert The Fat. Other possible local runners are Group 1 placegetter Woorim, one time Golden Slipper favourite Military Rose and three year old Buffering.
There are 38 nominations for the BTC Cup.
One of Australia’s most interesting weight for age races, it is an opportunity for Brisbane to see champion gallopers in their home town. Great horses like Might and Power, Intergaze, Juggler, Rough Habit, Winfreux and Bernborough have won this race. Many years, however, there are no weight for age horses around and so it is sometimes seen as a weak Group 1.
This year there is no standout and so it may be considered a weak edition. However, there is no doubt it has the potential to be competitive. Nominations include Group 1 winners Empires Choice, Heart of Dreams, My Kingdom of Fife, Newport, Scenic Shot, Shoot Out, Small Minds, Speed Gifted, The Party Stand, Triple Honour, Vision and Power and Zavite.
There is also the surprise nomination of All Silent, at one time considered the best sprinter in the world, as well as the nomination of highly touted import Glass Harmonium, who at his last start finished well back in the Hong Kong Cup.
There are 47 nominations for the Doomben Cup.
The Doomben 10000 is Brisbaneâ€™s feature weight for age sprint, attracting many of Australiaâ€™s best sprinters each year. It also attracts horses who are looking for a solid lead up to the Stradbroke Handicap two weeks later. The honour roll of the Doomben 10000 is outstanding, featuring horses like Hot Danish, Apache Cat, Takeover Target, Bel Esprit, Falvelon, Chief De Beers, Sovereign Red, Manikato, Maybe Mahal, Baguette, Winfreux and Aquanita. However, the biggest achievement in winning the Doomben 10000 was by one of the early winners in Bernborough, who also won the Doomben Cup in the same year.
This yearâ€™s edition could be one of the better runnings in recent memory. Horses that are expected to run include Black Caviar, Hay List, Melito, Black Piranha, Love Conquers All, Ortensia, Squamosa and Toorak Toff.
There are 72 nominations for the Doomben 10000.
The Queensland Oaks in recent times has tended to be a good guide to the spring prospects of three year olds. Winners like Ethereal (Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double) and Arctic Scent (Caulfield Cup) have gone on to better things, while other good winners include the likes of Eskimo Queen, Zagalia, Giovana, Crystal Palace, Joie Denise, Slight Chance, Surround and Deniseâ€™s Joy.
Much has been said about the low depth among this yearâ€™s three year old crop, but the nominations for the Queensland Oaks are promising. Nominations include Becerra, Divorces, Fibrillation, Fillydelphia, I Walk The Line, Insurgent, Rose of Peace and Wabeel.
There are also some nicely bred horses like Monaco Consul’s full sister So Divine and the first foal of AKC Oaks winner Dizelle, Dizlago.
There are 123 nominations for the Queensland Oaks.
Queensland’s best day of racing features three Group 1 races – the Queensland Derby, the Stradbroke Handicap and the T J Smith Stakes.
The Queensland Derby, being the last classic of the season, tends to feature many late maturers who go on as older horses. While this is not always the case, and there are plenty of poor winners, notable winners include County Tyrone, Freemason, Yippyio, Rough Habit, Strawberry Road and Kingston Town.
This year is unlikely to feature a winner of champion status, but stranger things have happened in racing.
Nominations include eight for leviathan owner Lloyd Williams, with the likes of Excluded, Fawkner and Integration nominated, the full brother to Manhattan Rain and half brother to Redoute’s Choice in Echoes of Heaven, NZ Derby placegetter On The Level, Frank Packer Plate winner Shootoff and Magic Millions Guineas winner Torio’s Quest.
There are 132 nominations for the Queensland Derby.
The Stradbroke Handicap is Queensland’s feature race and it promises to be a high quality edition.
While Black Caviar is nominated, she is highly unlikely to run as she’d have to carry an enormous weight. Black Piranha will be attempting to win his third Stradbroke, a feat never achieved before, while Sniper’s Bullet will be attempting to win his second Stradbroke. Horses to have won two include Rough Habit, Daybreak Lover, Lucky Ring, Petrol Lager, Highland and Gold Tie.
Other notable winners include Private Steer, Dane Ripper, All Our Mob, Campaign King and Winfreux.
Among this year’s nominations are Group 1 winners All Silent, Alverta, Black Piranha, Captain Sonador, Crystal Lily, Dane Julia, Eagle Falls, Gold Trail, Hay List, Heart of Dreams, Phelan Ready, Shellscrape, Skilled, Sniper’s Bullet, Toorak Toff and Yosei.
There are 147 nominations for the Stradbroke Handicap.
T J Smith Stakes
The T J Smith Stakes is run over a mile for two year olds and is the last opportunity to record a Group 1 success at two.
Since this race gained Group 1 recognition in 1985 there have been some outstanding winners, as well as some appalling winners.
Among the outstanding winners are Darci Brahma, Outback Prince, Show A Heart, Freemason, Mossman, Mahogany, Slight Chance, Prince Salieri and Zeditave.
With the two year old crop this year looking fairly strong, it is hoped that this year’s edition of the T J Smith may produce a very good winner.
The nominations are led by Group 1 placegetters Dowager Queen, Masthead and Pane in the Glass.
There are 173 nominations for the T J Smith Stakes, many unfamiliar to punters as yet.
Written by Andrew Hawkins
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