Four key trends in one of Australia's toughest sprint handicaps

Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate winning at Randwick in April. Photo: Steve Hart

It’s not only the showpiece of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the A$1.5 million ($1.1 million) Stradbroke Handicap, which is being run at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Saturday, is also possibly the toughest sprint handicap in Australia.

The G1 race, which is being streamed live in the United States, is off at 4 p.m. Brisbane time (2 a.m. EST, or 11 p.m. PST on Friday).

When it comes to handicapping in the 1400-meter (seven-furlong) Stradbroke, observing past patterns can be crucial to betting successfully. Here are four of the most important trends.

1. Four-year-olds have the best record

Horses in this age group have won 45 times in the race’s 116-year history, with high-class sprinters such as Srikandi (2015) and Thorne Park (2004) both successful. This year’s favorite is the 4-year-old Azkadellia, winner of the G1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes at Randwick in April.

Three-year-olds have 30 wins, with only one 2-year-old – Wiggle in 1958 – taking the honours.    

2. Form matters

Many Stradbroke contenders have run previously at the carnival.

Races that have traditionally been stepping stones to the Stradbroke include the BTC Cup, the Premier's Cup, and, above all, the Doomben 10,000, which has delivered eight of the last 14 Stradbroke winners. Charlie Boy and runner-up Azkadellia performed well in the Doomben 10,000 two weeks back, behind the impressive winner Music Magnate.

3. Double-figure barriers dominate

Given the straight 400-meter start that Eagle Farm offers from the backstretch toward the first turn, every horse in the Stradbroke should have an even break in the race regardless of draw. However, horses that start from a double-figure barrier tend to fare better, as six of the winners from the past 14 years came from 16, 17 and 18.

Eighteen has been the most successful barrier, with victories by Show A Heart (2002) and La Montagna (2006) among others. The most recent sweep from the outside barrier came from 2013 winner Linton Drew, drawn 16.  

Since 1983, no contender from barrier 2 or 13 has won.

4. Favorites have a high failure rate

If you always back the favorite, you might reconsider your tactics for the Stradbroke. Since 1983, just six favorites have obliged. Three have won in the last 15 years: Private Steer in 2003, Thorn Park in 2004 and Black Piranha in 2009.

To place bets and watch the Eagle Farm action live in the U.S., you can visit Advance Deposit Wagering sites like TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, BetAmerica, MyWinners, WatchandWager, and NYRA Rewards. Punters can also visit Sky Racing World’s website for free past-performance form and live streaming.

The broadcast will also include coverage of the G1 Queensland Derby, G1 J.J. Atkins and the G1 Queensland Oaks (postponed from last week).

David Haslett, a former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April, 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.

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