STRADDY ISSUES

Wednesday 12, 2024 2:00 PM By Best Bets

Of the four remaining Group 1 sprint handicaps on the Australian calendar, the Stradbroke — perhaps because it’s over a testing 1400 metres — seems to be the one where a light weight is most crucial.

No Stradbroke winner has had more than 56kg since Rough Habit won with 58.5kg in 1992. Of the 31 winners since, 24 have had 54.5kg or less.

By contrast, seven of the past 19 Newmarket winners have had more than 56kg, while nine have had 54.5kg or less.

The Galaxy is more lightweight-friendly than the Newmarket, but still six of the past 13 winners have had 55kg or more.

The past seven Oakleigh Plate winners (including the 2021 dead-heaters) have had 54kg or less, but three of the previous five had 56kg-plus including Flamberge with 58kg in 2016.

Adding to the Stradbroke puzzle (and perhaps related to the topweights’ woes) is the dismal record of horses who have won a major Brisbane lead-up race.

Of the 24 Moreton (ex QTC) Cup winners to contest the Stradbroke, not one has won (five thirds, 19 unplaced). Of the 43 Kingsford-Smith (ex BTC) Cup winners to tackle the Stradbroke, two have won (Thorn Park in 2004 and Think About It last year). For the BRC (ex BTC) Sprint, it’s one from 27 (River Lad in 2014). For the Doomben 10,000, one from 20.

All up that’s 112 attempts for four wins.

Throw in the fact that it’s almost always a capacity 18-horse field and it’s probably not surprising that only three favourites have won in the past 19 years — and one of those (Trekking) started at $7. Or that the average SP across that time has been $14.89.

So don’t be put off if your fancy is at double-figure odds. Or, for that matter, jumping from a double-figure barrier — seven of the past 11 winners have done so.