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Clearly Innocent is an easing Stradbroke Handicap favourite after drawing an outside barrier but trainer Kris Lees insists it might not be enough to stop his latest stable star.

Clearly Innocent drew barrier 20 which means if the five emergencies don’t get a run he will start from gate 15 in the Group One race at Doomben on Saturday.

The Kingsford-Smith Cup winner has drifted from $4 to $4.60, yet Lees doesn’t see the draw as a disadvantage because of an extended run to the first turn.

“For him I would rather draw out there than in barrier one. He was always going to get back in the race and we will just have to get some cover,” Lees said.

Noted wet-tracker Jungle Edge shortened from $10 into $8.50 after he drew barrier seven.

“There seems to be some mixed messages about when rain will arrive in Brisbane. It would be nice if it arrived on Saturday or even Friday,” trainer Mick Bell said.

“But as long as the track isn’t rock hard he should race well.”

The Bjorn Baker trained Egyptian Symbol was another to shorten from $20 into $16 after drawing barrier 10 but likely to start from a perfect barrier eight.

Counterattack remained solid at $8.50 after drawing barrier two while his Chris Waller-trained stablemate Macintosh, to start from barrier one, shortened from $11 into $9.

Trainer Paul Snowden said a decision to gamble on Gold Symphony making the Stradbroke had been further rewarded with a middle barrier.

“It’s been a bit of a target for him,” Snowden said.

“We decided to pull the pin last Saturday and not run him in the Moreton Cup due to the decrease in distance.

“It’s been a good result to get here and obviously he comes in three (barriers) if the emergencies don’t get a run.”

Gold Symphony was kept up to the mark with a Sydney barrier trial win last Friday after resuming with Scone placing behind Clearly Innocent.

Hopfgarten and Hooked will have veterinary inspections on Thursday.

But trainer Robert Heathcote is confident Hopfgarten will be passed fit to take his place as one of the outsiders in the field.

Hopfgarten finished down the course in the Kingsford-Smith Cup and he goes into the $1.5 million Group One event trying to win for the first time since claiming a support race on Stradbroke day last year.

Young trainer Benjamin Smith said a wide draw could work in favour of talented mare In Her Time.

“I don’t think (gate) seventeen will bother us too much if the emergencies don’t get a run,” he said.

“She’s a horse who doesn’t like to be bottled up on the inside. From the chute we’ve got plenty of time to come across whenever.”

The Virginian, who is a $41 chance, is the first emergency and trainer Toby Edmonds remains hopeful last year’s placegetter will sneak into the race with Jeff Lloyd to take the ride.

 
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