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The Brisbane Winter Carnival reaches its climax this Saturday with arguably the best raceday of the year for Queensland racing, with three Group l events, highlighted by the $2 Million AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m). The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is out half a metre for the entire circuit.


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Race One (11:22am) : Coca Cola Amatil Hinkler Handicap 1200m: Form Guide

Back Me: I think punters will start Stradbroke Day on the right note courtesy of Team Hawkes three year old Kaepernick (Best Odds: $2.70). He was fantastic when sprinting home from last to first when resuming, then he ran last week at Rosehill and was smashed in betting…and if you backed him, it was hard to watch because he loomed to win, but as soon as he poked his head in front, he wanted to lay in and lay in badly, and he pretty much threw the race away. He is a very smart horse, Tommy jumps back on…looks his race to lose.
Big Danger: Into The Red (Best Odds: $4.60) was given a peach by Ryan Wiggins to win first up in the Ascot Handicap (1200m), charging home near the inside and not going around a horse to win brilliantly. Trained Kelso Wood could have had a crack at the Stradbroke with him, but he knows this horse and his limits, and this is his grade. Still looks well weighted and the two form references in his favour are that he beat Delectation comfortably in the Ascot, and that horse is near the top of the betting for the Stradbroke, and second up last time in, Into The Red worked home well when fourth to Big Money, who is also a Stradbroke contender. Hard to beat.
Roughie: Tokamak (Best Odds: $81.00) is the value runner here. He was luckless when resuming in the BRC Sprint behind Charlie Boy, then ran in the Ascot Handicap and worked home okay late when seventh to Into The Red. I think he is looking further, but a fast run 1200m will suit him, and if he gets a clear run, he can be a threat.


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Race Two (11:57am) : James Boag’s Premium Lancaster Stakes 1200m: Form Guide

Back Me: Looks a race between the two Sydney youngsters, and I think due to the barrier draw advantage, I’ll go with Flippant (Best Odds: $1.90). She led all the way to win the Woodlands (1100m) during the Scone Carnival and just bolted up, winning by a space and doing it pretty easily it would seem. Bowman sticks, draws to get the gun run and the stable is flying.
Big Danger: Harlem River (Best Odds: $4.80) was on debut for Gai when contesting the Woodlands and she was excellent I thought after she got a long way back in the run and was wide all the way. She looks a future Group l winner, perhaps in the Spring and the Flight Stakes, so with that in mind, I think 1200m is short of her best, and she has drawn wide, but ability wise, she’s the best horse in the race and she’ll be strong late.
Roughie: Frequendly (Best Odds: $7.00) resumed in the Bruce McLachlan Classic (1200m) at the Sunny Coast and she just ambled to the front at the 300m mark and looked set to sprint clear, but she felt the pinch late and tired late to run fourth, beaten just over two lengths. She should strip much fitter for this, draws well and has an excellent record at the track.


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Race Three (12:32pm) : Ambassador Travel Wayne Wilson Mile 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Looks a two horse race between Frespanol and Lucky Lago (Best Odds: $7.00). Leaning towards Lucky Lago. I really liked the way she toughed it out last start in the Lord Mayors Cup (1615m) when second to all the way winner Strawberry Boy, who had an absolute picnic on speed and proved far too good for his rivals, but Lucky Lago closed off really well. That was WFA, and she is better suited here at handicaps, and she meets Frespanol much better at the weights from the Scone Cup.
Big Danger: If you backed Frespanol (Best Odds: $6.50) last week in the Spear Chief, you had no worries what so ever, because he always looked the winner, and though he only won narrowly, he was always going to win given his form. I would have thought Blinkers would be put on, but they haven’t, which is a worry given his last two starts he has hit the front and hasn’t gone on with it. Still, hard to beat.
Roughie: Strawberry Boy (Best Odds: $2.50) was given a peach steer by Purton in the Lord Mayors Cup, going straight to the front and giving his rivals no look at all, controlling the tempo and bolting up. He looks as though he’ll get a soft lead again, and meets the two horses above better at the weights from their clash in the Scone Cup. Hard to hold out, especially if he gets a cheap sectional.


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Race Four (1:07pm) : Best Security Dane Ripper Stakes 1350m: Form Guide

Back Me: Just have to go with Catkins (Best Odds: $2.30) here. Her Autumn Carnival was fantastic, with the lone defeats being close seconds in a couple of Group l races behind Cosmic Endeavour and Amanpour. She has had two trials to prepare for her Winter prep, and the first one was pretty good, but the second and latest trial was just fair I thought behind Avoid Lightning. But with the champs, you go on their race day form, and she’s the one to beat.
Big Danger: If the track had any give in it, I’d be all over Politeness (Best Odds: $14.00). Her efforts in three runs this time in have been great, even her last start effort in the Goodwood (1200m) when 15th of 17 to Flamberge where she didn’t get a great deal of luck. Her lone run racing clockwise came last year at Randwick during the Championships in the P J Bell and she was just awesome in winning. Hard to beat, even from the wide gate.
Roughie: Rose Of Choice (Best Odds: $11.00) resumed in the Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) and worked home very strongly late when fifth to Divertire, beaten 1.6L. That form hasn’t been franked with the winner performing terribly but she never strings good performances together. Rose Of Choice runs very well second up, D Browne rides and the blinker are back on.


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Race Five (1:42pm) : Sky Racing Queensland Guineas 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Going for Sure And Fast (Best Odds: $6.00). He absolutely bolted up when winning the Provincial Championship Final, then went to the Guineas at Scone and was completely luckless when seventh to Loved Up. The tight track of Doomben is against him, but he is the best horse in the race and the stable knows when and where to travel.
Big Danger: Good Project (Best Odds: $8.50) was a real eye catcher last week in the Queensland Day when a close up fifth to Mohave after coming from near last on the turn. He has that sense of timing about him, and he is in the right stable. If this was at Eagle Farm, I’d be all over him, but nonetheless he will be a contender for sure.
Roughie: Miss Cover Girl (Best Odds: $7.00) was given an absolute peach by Browne last time out in the Fred Best, but was no match for star fully Najoom, but she beat the rest easily enough, and that is the key form reference for this, so she has to rate as a serious prospect here, and she’ll probably start attractive odds again.


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Race Six (2:17pm) : BMW J J Atkins 1600m: Form Guide

Back Me: Counterattack (Best Odds: $7.00) looks the way to go here. He worked home late in the Champagne before going to the Sires and again working home strongly from the back to finish fourth to Look To The Stars, beaten two lengths. There is a real sense of timing with this bloke, similar to that of Zoustar a couple of years back, and the Waller stable can do no wrong this Carnival.
Big Danger: Blueberry Hill (Best Odds: $5.00) is a smart filly for Liam Birchley who worked home strongly in the Sires but couldn’t quite finish it off as Look To The Stars got the bikkies in a close finish. Perhaps a query on her running a mile, but she is in form, rock hard fit and does have a brilliant finishing burst on her when cuddled and saved.
Roughie: Cylinder Beach (Best Odds: $17.00) started $101 but was the best of the closers in the Sires when finishing fourth after coming from second last on the turn. He is still a maiden, but there is plenty to like about him. The query is that he is well found in the market at around the $12 mark. That’s terrible unders, but he still should run a beauty.


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Race Seven (2:57pm): Channel 7 Queensland Derby 2200m: Form Guide

Back Me: It was hard not to be impressed by the win of Werther (Best Odds: $2.40) last Saturday in the Eagle Farm Cup (2200m), smashing a Group l class field and smashing them comfortably. He now comes back to his own age and sex, only rises 1.5kg and we saw last week that he excels at this track/distance. Extremely hard to beat here.
Big Danger: Sadler’s Lake (Best Odds: $9.00) attempted to lead all the way in the Grand Prix but was softened up badly from the 1000m mark and tired late to run fifth. They’ve tried riding him positively and it worked to some extent, but I think now they need to revert to old tactics and ride him cold. That’s the only way he will beat Werther.
Roughie: The value runner in the race for exotics could well be Spur On Gold (Best Odds: $15.00), who has really caught the eye in Victoria, most notably two runs back when flashing home from near last to run fourth to Master Of Arts, beaten less than two lengths. He is around $17 and the one above is $4, and really I don’t think the gap should be so big. Pat Carey knows what it takes to win a staying feature and he has a really nice progressive type here.


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Race Eight (3:37pm) : AAMI Stradbroke Handicap 1350m: Form Guide

Back Me: Had this race been at Eagle Farm, I’d be all over Delectation (Best Odds: $10.00) in this, but despite that query, he still goes on top. He was fantastic when topweight and first up in a few weeks from a wide gate when third to Into The Red in the Ascot Handicap, beaten just under three lengths. He tumbles down to 52kg now, fitter and will be very strong late. Query is whether or not he can ping on the tight track, but he hasn’t gone any better.
Big Danger: Boban (Best Odds: $15.00) bounced back to his very best with a brilliant finishing burst and then great courage to win the Doomben 10,000 (1350m), aided by a gem from Glyn Schofield. He normally doesn’t run that well fresh, but Waller has specifically targeted this carnival with Boban, and so far so good. Lumosty aside, Boban gets in so well at the weights here, and if he reproduces his first up run, he’ll take a power of beating.
Roughie: Bit surprised to see that $16 and better is on offer for Hot Snitzel (Best Odds: $21.00), the winner of the BTC Cup (1200m). He was given an absolute peach ride by Blake Shinn and the horse sprinted brilliantly and then held on very well. He trialled really well last Friday at Randwick behind Avoid Lightning, he can run 1350m, and given he is a last start Group l winner, he is well in at the weights.


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Race Nine (4:17pm) : Evergreen Turf Brisbane Cup 2200m: Form Guide

Back Me: Let’s Make A Deal (Best Odds: $4.00) for me here. She was enormous in winning over 2000m at Morphettville last time out given she was wide no cover for the entire yet she ambled up to them on the turn and charged clear to win with ease. She hasn’t raced better in her career, draws well, on the limit, Williams sticks and is suited by the rise to 2200m.
Big Danger: Moriarty (Best Odds: $5.50) was given an absolute peach by Shinn last week in the Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) and even the ride wasn’t good enough as the horse had to settle for second to the very impressive winner Werther, who will go around as the top pick for the Derby. Has to give some weight away to a couple of handy types that are in form, but he is the clear class runner and did win this race in 2013 and ran second last year.
Roughie: The value runner in the race for exotics could well be Volkhere (Best Odds: $61.00). He ran last time out in the Caloundra Cup (2400m) where he led and dropped out to finish eighth to Index Linked. The speed was strong in that race, and with not much gate speed here, he could dictate and take some catching for a place.


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BEST BET: Race Seven Number 1 Werther

NEXT BEST: Race Nine Number 4 Let's Make A Deal

VALUE: Race Eight Number 16 Delectation


Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8

Leg Two: 1, 7, 8, 9, 10

Leg Three: 1, 3, 8, 9, 13, 16

Leg Four: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 11

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