All Silent’s shock omission and a perfect barrier draw dramatically lifted the hopes of the favourite Black Piranha claiming the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at the Eagle Farm races.
A heavy track ended the dream of several trainers for Saturday’s 1400-metre feature with a field of 20 runners declared.
Missing from the final acceptors on Wednesday were the Grahame Begg-trained All Silent, who was the early favourite for the race, the Anthony Cummings-trained Duporth, Swiss Ace, Forensics, Light Fantastic, El Cambio, Mitanni and Wasted Emotions.
Black Piranha, who was narrowly beaten by Apache Cat in the Group One 2009 Doomben 10,000 last start, is the Stradbroke favourite at $3.80 after drawing ideally in barrier four.
On a heavy track barriers may not play such an important role and Ortensia’s trainer Tony Noonan wasn’t disappointed after his filly drew gate 16.
Sniper’s Bullet, who is attempting to win his second Stradbroke following his success in 2007, also drew poorly in 19 while Gai Waterhouse’s pair Bank Robber and Royal Discretion drew barriers 18 and 17 respectively.
Black Piranha’s young trainer Con Karakatsanis missed the Stradbroke draw but his uncle and the five-year-old’s part-owner John Karakatsanis said he was delighted with his barrier.
“We couldn’t be any happier with four. He’ll race midfield somewhere and we won’t need to change his racing pattern,” he said.
John Karakatsanis runs the coffee shop at Rosehill and unlike Begg wasn’t concerned with the likely prospect of a bottomless track.
“He’s adaptable and would run on concrete if he had to,” he said.
“When we first got him I was at the coffee shop at Rosehill when Tim Martin came up to me and said he had just clocked a winner going down the bitumen road on Unwin Street next to the Rosehill racetrack.
“It was our horse Black Piranha. He had shied at a pool of water and took off with Con holding on.”
John Karakatsanis named Black Piranha after the gelding took a liking to him when he was only a yearling.
“He bit me on the shoulder and that’s how we named him after a piranha,” he said.
Begg, who criticised the Eagle Farm track on Tuesday after All Silent was soundly beaten in a track gallop, decided to abort a Stradbroke start with his Doomben 10,000 placegetter.
“I pulled the pin because it’s not going to be pretty on Saturday,” Begg said.
“The horse is fit and well and will go straight to the spelling paddock in top order.
“I understand they have had a lot of rain at Eagle Farm but the track is unacceptable.
“They have had only one meeting in five weeks and the false rail was out seven metres last time and now it’s still out four metres.
“It comes down to the welfare of the horse and its longevity.”
Noonan believes last year’s Stradbroke winner Mr Baritone, barrier two, looked the biggest threat to Ortensia who will defy history if she wins the Stradbroke after winning last week’s Group Two QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
No horse has won the Stradbroke Handicap after winning the QTC Cup.
“The draw isn’t a real worry and she’s better off on the outside of horses,” Noonan said.
“Mr Baritone looks the danger now. His last run was good and he’s been set for this race for a long time.”
Article by Glenn Davis Aapracing