Off the Bit Vol 21…The Stradbroke

Jun 29, 2017

Queensland Racing’s Premier event is contested on Saturday with the running of the time honoured Stradbroke Handicap. Usually held at Eagle Farm, The Stradbroke or ‘Straddie’, as it’s known to the locals, is run over 1400m for a total prize of $1.5Million. This year, due to concerns with the track surface, the Stradbroke will be held at Doomben. The race is named after English Aristocrat Lord Stradbroke, who was a relative of Admiral Rous the creator of the Weight for Age Scale.

First run in 1890, it was a 6 furlong Sprint (1200m). It remained at that distance until 1953 when lengthened out to 7 furlongs (1400m) which it remains at up to now.

The race has been won by five 2 year olds with the last being Wiggle who won in 1958 carrying the featherweight of 46.5kgs. The race and track record is held by 1988 winner Toledo with a blistering 1:20.02s.

There have been eight dual winners of the race; Babel (1895/96), Gold Tie (1918/19), Highland (1925/26), Petrol Lager (1934/35), Lucky Ring (1949/50), Daybreak Lover (1984/86), Rough Habit (1991/92) and Black Piranha (2009/10). Lucky Ring was desperately unlucky to miss the treble when 2nd in 1951.

Whilst the Stradbroke Winners list is littered with Greats of the Turf, the Runner’s Up list is almost as impressive. Great horses to NOT win the Stradbroke and run 2nd include; Fine and Dandy, Regal Vista (the ‘ring in’ horse at Casterton – another story!),Tiger Town, Mr Magic x 2, Rancho Ruler, St Jude, Schillaci, Falvelon and Buffering x 2.

The Great Winners Post WWII:

  • Wiggle was an exceptional galloper. She started her career as a 2yo running 4th at Canterbury in January 1958. Her next 5 starts were wins including the Champagne Stakes. Her final start at 2 resulted in a brilliant win in the Stradbroke. She would win 21 of her 55 starts including the Caulfield Guineas and the Linlithgow. Sold to America she won another staggering 20 races.
  • Persian Lyric was the next great winner in 1961 as a 4 year old. A Champion 3 year old, Persian Lyric won the Canterbury Guineas, AJC Derby and QTC Derby as well as placing in VRC Derby, Rosehill Guineas and Cox Plate.
  • Winfreux who won in 1965 was a star for many seasons. At 3 he won the Stradbroke/Doomben 10,000 Double and ran 2nd in the Doomben Cup. At 4 it was the Feehan, Caulfield Stakes and Doomben Cup. At 5 he won the Caulfield Stakes again then at 6 he went beserk. He won 10 races incl; Caulfield Stakes (3rd time), McKinnon Stakes, William Reid and Orr Stakes. His last major wins were the Liston and Freeway at 7 years of age.
  • Daybreak Lover was the pride of Queensland. He won 2 Stradbrokes, one at 3 and the other at 5. He also won 2 Lightning Stakes and a Todman Stakes amongst his 11 wins. He later became a successful sire.
  • Rough Habit was a legend! This kiwi wonder horse would win 11 Gr 1 Races and twice be NZ Racehorse of the Year. He deserves his own Off the Bit Story and his 2 wins in the Stradbroke are only a fraction of the legend that is Rough Habit. Tough, durable and talented this Kiwi star would have 74 starts winning 29 of them and placing a further 23 times…star!

Watch this You Tube Clip to see the phenomenal win in 1992

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeXgmRwEKF0

  • Dane Ripper, trained by the great JB Cummings, was probably the last true Champion to win the Stradbroke when she saluted in 1997. Just a few months later she would win the WFA Championship of Australia – the Cox Plate. That was followed by the Australian Cup and Manikato Stakes.
  • Other good recent winners were; Campaign King, All Our Mob, Show A Heart and Linton – who will add their name to this great honour roll?

Until next week…good punting.

By Rick Wells 7th June 2017