Chris Waller’s ace mare will have to overcome history if she’s to win next month’s 2014 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane off the back of a seven week spell.
Her triple Sydney premiership winning trainer named the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), running at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 7, as the opening Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival assignment for Red Tracer this season.
The now six-year-old daughter of Dane Shadow will go first-up into Queensland’s richest race, so long as the track is not too firm, and will be racing for the first time since April 19.
That day at Randwick she crossed under a length away third behind upset winner Diamond Drille in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).
While she’s had two winning trials since then, Red Tracer will still need to improve if she’s to win the Stradbroke off that long a let-up.
Crawl won the 2011 Stradbroke Handicap not having run since their fourth in the Doncaster Mile during the autumn and is the only horse in the past 30 years to have won the Queensland feature on a longer spell than Red Tracer comes off.
He sharpened up with a Hawkesbury trial however, Waller hoping the hitouts he has given Red Tracer then will give her enough fitness.
The next longest break a Stradbroke Handicap winner has come off in that time meanwhile as six weeks when Campaign King returned to take out the 1988 edition.
After a successful Warwick Farm trial over 795m on May 19, Red Tracer was back at Rosehill yesterday for an impressive 1030m winning hit-out that impressed jockey Nash Rawiller.
“She seems in a really good frame of mind again,” he told the Herald Sun.
“The whole time I’ve been riding her, she’s always been one of the most competitive mares you’d ride, but she didn’t quite seem herself for a couple of runs in the autumn.
“Whether that had something to do with a bad check in (the Canterbury Stakes), I’m not sure.
“Judging by the past two trials, I think she’s back from the brink.”
Post-Stradbroke Red Tracer is set to return to the track on June 21 to defend her title in the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), the fillies’ and mares’ feature also on the agenda for youngster stablemate Catkins.
Red Tracer and Catkins ran one-two in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington during the spring, that victory being Tracer’s second elite level success following her Tatt’s triumph during the winter.
She pays $13 to win the Stradbroke Handicap where she will carry 56kg if Spirit Of Boom accepts but current top-weight Buffering (59kg) comes out as expected.
“She’s in quite well at the weights,” Rawiller added.
“She’s still got that residual fitness, so the 1400m will be no problem for her.”
Dubawi four-year-old Catkins meanwhile is just shorter than Red Tracer in futures Stradbroke markets that are led by top filly Srikandi ($4.60) who will be a late entry into the race this week.
If the course proper at Eagle Farm wasn’t in the Dead – Heavy range for the Stradbroke, then Waller will instead give Red Tracer her 2014 Tattersall’s Tiara lead-up in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes against Catkins in a race she won last year.
2014 Stradbroke Handicap first acceptances close today, Wednesday May 28, so stay tuned.
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