Racing: Sizzling likely to feel heat

By Stephen Rodgers

Connections still confident after Stradbroke hotshot draws wide for Eagle Farm feature.

Buffering has drawn well for his attempt to win the Stradbroke Hcp at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Buffering has drawn well for his attempt to win the Stradbroke Hcp at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Connections of Stradbroke Hcp favourite Sizzling are looking at the positives despite the colt's wide barrier for Saturday's group one sprint.

Sizzling remains the $4.50 favourite for the A$1,380,000 1400m at Eagle Farm after drawing barrier 18. He is being challenged at the top of betting by fellow 3-year-old Your Song who has firmed to $4.80 after drawing stall 11.

Part-owner Neville Morgan isn't worried by Sizzling's draw, believing it will afford the colt a similar run to the Queensland Guineas which he won last Saturday.

"Our preference was for between eight and 13 and if the emergencies don't get a run he'll start from 14 which isn't too bad," Morgan said.

"As long as he can get to the outside, that's the main thing. I'd rather he be drawn where he is than starting from one or two because he'd need a lot of luck from in there.

"By the same token he's still going to require luck, but it looks like there'll be good pace in the race and that's what we need."

The Peter Snowden stable put on a brave face after Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette drew poorly in barrier 22. The colt was second favourite for the Stradbroke before the draw but once he came up with gate 22 he blew to $8 alongside Better Than Ready and Buffering.

Working on Epaulette's mindset requires just as much effort as maintaining his physical fitness, according to stable foreman Paul Reid.

"He's got all the ability in the world and you've just got to try and get it out of him," he said. "We've been taking him to the beach and doing a few different things to keep him fresh and happy and he's extremely well going into this race."

Buffering's part-owner Robert Ciobo had a premonition the gelding would draw barrier six.

"I said to my partner Kellie last night I felt certain he was going to draw six and I was a nervous wreck until I saw the number," Ciobo said.

"All we need now is for the rain to stay away so the track doesn't deteriorate like it did on BTC Cup day."

Buffering's trainer Robert Heathcote didn't attend the barrier draw because he was travelling to Rockhampton where he has two runners at today's meeting.

However, the news was all bad for the trio of Kiwi hopefuls in the Queensland Derby. Pre-post favourite Survived drew 17, one inside of Usainity with the latter's stablemate Ambitious Champion, who is the second emergency, beginning from the 20 gate.

All three are by stallion-of-the-moment Zed, who will be seeking to emulate the deeds of his sire Zabeel, who, in 1999, sired the Caulfield Cup trifecta of Sky Heights, Laebeel and Inaflury.

Gondokoro, the Queensland Oaks winning daughter of Zabeel, drew 14 and two of the other facied runners, Hawkspur (5) and Honorius (4), drew well.

Another daughter of Zabeel, Zurella, drew well at six for Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie in the 2400m Queensland Cup in which she will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.

Ritchie's other mare, Miss Artistic, copped the visitors' barrier of 23.

Last Saturday's narrow weight-for-age winner Matamata mare Quintessential has the 14 gate.

Of more significance, she has to concede Zurella 3kg, a stern task after finishing well behind the other mare in last season's NZ Oaks off level weights.

Topweight Voila Ici drew 18, while back-in-form Precedence will attempt to give Bart Cummings another staying triumph from gate nine.


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