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Carnival Capers: Why the locals can win Stradbroke



With a huge local contingent in the mix, our experts will be cheering on the Queenslanders to score a famous hometown victory. TA: Ben, we’re finally here and you have stopped your fair share of horses over the carnival by putting your famous mock on them. We were at Breakfast with the Stars on Tuesday morning and I think I noticed your Queensland Oaks tip Aravene just going past the winning post. With Alligator Blood a pseudo Queenslander, the locals make up almost half of the field in this year’s Stradbroke. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of them take it out?BD: I actually do have a reasonable record of tipping winners in the Stradbroke, however 2014 wasn’t my finest moment. A big gang of us had to do tips for The Courier-Mail, and my great mate Robert “Crash” Craddock asked me if he would look silly tipping River Lad at big odds. I told him he had lost his marbles and he then changed his tip. The great River Lad saluted days later as Natalie McCall became the first female trainer to win the great race. I’m tipping Alligator Blood to take a bite out of his rivals, overcome a wide barrier and score a colourful Stradbroke win. His run in the BRC Sprint was enormous. My best roughie is Laws Of Indices with James McDonald chasing down the ride. Have you found anything you like?TA: Isotope hasn’t been at her best this winter but trainer Tony Gollan has found a reason why.He is confident he has got to the bottom of her barrier issues which has seen her slow away in each of her starts and that is enough for me to think she will be put right in the race by jockey Willie Pike and be hard to mow down with a light weight on her back. The Brekky Creek Hotel won’t know what’s hit it if Gollan manages to jag his first Stradbroke.BD: It could be one of the most fascinating Stradbroke’s in recent memory. Can Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr pull off a training masterclass in dropping star horse Ayrton back to a sprint trip?Has Rob Heathcote got Rothfire back to near his brilliant best after his well documented injury history?Can Queensland’s home-bred hero Soxagon trump the might of Godolphin’s Blue Army and other powerful stables?Or could Stephanie Thornton receive the ultimate wedding gift by winning the Stradbroke on Vilana?There are other big races on the day, Trenton, where has your dart landed in the JJ Atkins?TA: To the naked eye, Political Debate’s win on Saturday might not have looked that flash but there was more to it, after he was almost bowled over heading down the back straight. I thought he did really well to gather himself and see off a fierce challenge from Kiwi raider Sharp ‘N’ Smart to justify his favouritism in the JJ. I can also see the Michael Freedman-trained Ringmaster running a race at knockout odds. BD: This race won’t be a chips in affair for me, but I thought Tony McEvoy’s colt Twin Stars was a sneaky good run in the BRC Sires’ Produce a fortnight ago.I will be specking him at $17 and hoping Kerrin McEvoy can score a Group 1 for uncle Tony. TA: The Q22 was a one-act affair last year with Zaaki. His recent conqueror Huetor is commanding favouritism this year.I reckon this horse could be the next big thing in Australian racing and now that he has got himself on a firmer track, he is really starting to show what he can do. BD: For once, I agree with you Trenton. Paul Snowden has been a frequent and popular winner over the carnival so far and I don’t expect that to change here. If Huetor turns up in the same form as when he turned over Zaaki, he will just be winning this race.TA: Hopefully we have given everyone a few winners and a few laughs over the carnival, all the best for a bumper Stradbroke Day.

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