2023 Stradbroke Handicap Top Selections and Tips
The Stradbroke Handicap is one of Australia’s oldest horse races having first been run as a principal race in 1890 over a distance 1200m. It wasn’t until 1953 where the contest was changed to a 7 furlong race and 1972 where it became the 1400m race we know today.
As the name suggests the Stradbroke is run under Handicap conditions and carries a prize pool of $3m which makes it the richest race of the Brisbane Winter Carnival and the showpiece of the states Racing Carnival.
Run at Eagle Farm each year the Stradbroke Handicap has attracted some of Australia’s best racing talent with trainers and connections sending runners across state lines to compete for one of Australia’s oldest titles.
In previous years we have seen the race won by the likes of Imposing, Dane Ripper and Rough Habit who won two editions of the race in 1991 and again in 1992. In more recent years names like Srikandi, Tofane and Under The Louvre have all won the race for interstate stables.
Last year the Stradbroke Handicap was won by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Alligator Blood and with the stable having two live chances in the race once again this year they will be looking to go back to back for connections.
2023 Stradbroke Handicap Race Overview
In the lead up to the 2023 Stradbroke Handicap a lot of the talk had been about Yellow Brick for the Tony and Maddysen Sears team. Without having a high enough rating to qualify for the Stradbroke he would need to win the Fred Best Classic to gain ballot exemption and assert his long term favouritism for the race.
Unfortunately for the stable however Hawaii Five Oh for the Bott and Waterhouse team would get the win and ballot exemption leaving Yellow Brick struggling for a start in the $3m Eagle Farm Contest.
Hawaii Five Oh is one of two live chances in the race for Bott and Waterhouse with Kingsford Smith runner up Converge also gaining a starting berth with both sitting in single figures high up in the betting.
The market leader however is held by Joseph Pride trained Think It Over who put in a commanding display to beat Converge in the Kingsford Smith Cup that day. The son of So You Think has got a significant weight advantage against a number of runners he beat that day.
Gentleman Roy, Vilana and Rothfire all come to the top of the conversation when you talk of a weight disadvantage and have all blown out from there last start prices to double figures given the win of Think It Over and the weight shift.
A capacity field looks set to contest the Stradbroke Handicap however so there could be chances all over the course.
2023 Stradbroke Handicap Top Selections
As always we pick our top three selections from the field based on an finding an Outside Chance, who’s The Main Danger and selecting our Best Bet.
2023 Stradbroke Handicap Outside Chance - 12. Aft Cabin
Trainer - James Cummings
Price - $13.00
On paper we knew that Aft Cabin wasn’t going to win the Doomben 10,000 given the fact Giga Kick is going so well at the moment. Here however you have to feel he has a real outside chance given the quality of the field.
There’s a buzz around Aft Cabin that he could be up there with some of Godolphin’s best and that was compounded when he demolished the G2 Arrowfield on the Heavy at Randwick.
His run in the Doomben 10,000 next time out also had a lot to like. He wasn’t going to land a glove on Giga Kick but he was clearly gaining on Overpass and Mazu in the placings in the final stages which suggests an extra 100m might suit more.
He rates as one of the best runners in the race and against this field it wouldn’t surprise if he’s fighting out the finish.
2023 Strabroke Handicap Main Danger - 9. Think About It
Trainer - Joe Pride
Price - $3.00
It’s a tough call here but we’re going to put Think About it down as the main danger for the 2023 Stradbroke Handicap.
Obviously his record speaks for itself. He’s Had 9 starts for 8 wins including most recently a Group One Kingsford Smith Cup win over a lot of the runners in this field.
The weight drop is a big advantage when going from 58kgs last time out to just 54kg here and with the midfield barrier he looks a solid bet and had it not been for our best bets run in the Fred Best Classic you’d almost be chips in here.
At the end of the day we think it’ll come down to two horses here and it could go either way however we feel that our best bet might just have the edge.
2023 Stradbroke Handicap Best Bet - 18. Hawaii Five Oh
Trainer - Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott
Price - $6.00
Our best bet for the 2023 Stradbroke Handicap is the Adrian Bott and Gai Waterhouse trained three year old Hawaii Five Oh.
Hawaii Five Oh surprised many by toppling Yellow Brick in the Group Three Fred Best Classic and gained a starting berth in the $3m Stradbroke.
It was the manner of that win however that moved him to second favourite for the Stradbroke after he kicked away for the win with only a few reminders and mainly hands and heels.
The Waterhouse and Bott Colt drops 7.5kgs for that win and also draws barrier three which will allow him to sit closer to the speed on this occasion. Under the lightweight he has every chance to win here and at the $6 mark presents better value than the favourite.
Stradbroke Handicap Best Bet - Back Hawaii Five Oh to win