Talented Vega One takes his first step towards a long-held date with the Group One Stradbroke Handicap when he runs at the Sunshine Coast.
The Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) is one of only two Group One races to be run in Queensland this winter after the usual carnival was drastically re-shaped because of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The prize money for the race has been cut from $1.5 million to $350,000 but is still expected to attract a quality field on June 6.
The other Group One race given a reprieve is the J J Atkins for two-year-olds at Eagle Farm on the same day.
Vega One will make his reappearance in Saturday’s Open Handicap (1000m) at the Sunshine Coast and is the highest-rated of the 18 entries taken on Monday.
The Gateway win assured him of an automatic start in the Stradbroke while his win in the MM Cup lifted his prize money to $956,000.
Vega One has had one soft trial in preparation for his comeback when fourth behind speedy Wonder Boom at Doomben last month.
Trainer Tony Gollan said Vega One had been set for the Stradbroke nearly a year ago.
“After he won two races in the winter as a three-year-old I always had this year’s Stradbroke in the back of my mind for him,” Gollan said.
“Provided he pleases me in the next few days he will run at the Sunshine Coast.”
Gollan also plans to run brilliant debut two-year-old winner Isotope over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast.
Isotope won her first start by 10 lengths at Doomben last Saturday week.
She ran slick time for 1110m on a soft track even though she was not fully extended.
“We have taken our time with her but now we need to build up her prize money to get into the better winter races,” Gollan said.
“Again provided she does well in the next few days she will run Saturday.”
Isotope is one of 14 entries for the race.