Producing an incredible turn of foot to flash home and win the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) when jumping as a rank outsider on May 10th, trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith is confident Famous Seamus is in the right position to repeat the impressive feat in this weekend’s featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Allocated the central barrier 10 for this weekend’s headline event, Famous Seamus is likely to cut in to the ideal barrier 7 when emergencies are removed from the field on race day, but Mayfield-Smith revealed fortunes could have been a whole lot worse for his sole entrant at Wednesday’s barrier draw.
“I was second last to pick a cap. I had my eye of two caps but they both went earlier which was lucky because they were barriers 21 and 23,” Mayfield-Smith told AAP.
“He should be able to get the perfect sit from that barrier and will just need a bit of luck in the straight.”
Unlucky to be blocked for a run and squeezed out in the final straight of the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) last time out, Mayfield-Smith believes the Elusive City gelding is a far-better horse than he was one year ago, when failing to match the late pace of eventual champion Linton and 13th in the Stradbroke Handicap.
“He is stronger and tougher. I wouldn’t take too much notice of the Stradbroke run last year as he wasn’t suited by the shifty track and he lost a shoe,” the Hawkesbury trainer added.
Contesting an impressive total of nine races victories and seven minor places from 30 competitive race starts so far, Famous Seamus has steadily built to the task this time in; overcoming disappointing starts in both the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) with a strong sprint to finish a fighting fifth in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) prior to the BTC Cup triumph.
Confirmed to be partnered by regular jockey Ryan Wiggins, Famous Seamus is currently offered at particularly generous odds of $19 for success in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap, or $4.50 to run a place.
Aiming for a sixth consecutive race win the in Stradbroke, Srikandi is currently tied with South Australian sprinter Hucklebuck on the top line of betting for success at a quote of $5.
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