Racing: Azkadellia set for feature

Trainer worried mare might get too far back in Brisbane’s A$1.5 million race.
Azkadellia is the $4 favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday. Picture / Darryl Sherer
Azkadellia is the $4 favourite for the Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday. Picture / Darryl Sherer

Stradbroke favourite Azkadellia was among the horses to work at Eagle Farm yesterday with trainer Ciaron Maher pleased with the New Zealand-bred mare's progress.

Maher, who won Brisbane's premier race a year ago with Srikandi, said Azkadellia's biggest obstacle was her racing style.

"She gets back and she's either got to weave a path through the field or go wide," he told Racing Queensland.

"I think that's her biggest opposition - getting a nice clean run through."

Meanwhile, Mitchell Bell will be reunited with Artlee for the biggest race of his life in the Stradbroke Handicap.

The wash-out of last Saturday's Eagle Farm meeting means the NSW country gelding gains a start in Brisbane's premier race a week later at No 18 in the ballot order. He is a $21 chance.

If the Oaks meeting had gone ahead, the QTC Cup winner could have leapfrogged Artlee into the A$1.5 million Stradbroke (1400m) but that race is now on the same programme.

Azkadellia remains the $4 favourite for the Stradbroke ahead of Goodwood winner Black Heart Bart and Counterattack who are on the second line at $5.50.

Malaguerra and Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate are next at $7.50.

Former West Australian Black Heart Bart, now with Darren Weir, had a gallop at Ararat racecourse on Monday ahead of his trip to Queensland.

Brad Rawiller will ride Black Heart Bart, the 58kg topweight, in the Stradbroke and will also be aboard the Weir-trained Howard Be Thy Name in the Queensland Derby.

The Stradbroke field and barrier draw will be finalised today.

Kiwi jockey Rosie Myers has made a low-key return to Queensland with the Brisbane Cup on her mind.

Myers will partner Benzini in Saturday's Cup after riding him to third in the Group Three Premier's Cup at Doomben two weeks ago.

She has since spent most of her time in Brisbane helping with the preparation of Benzini ahead of his group two assignment at Eagle Farm.

Benzini was an entry but not an acceptor for the eventually washed out Eagle Farm Cup on Saturday but Myers said the gelding was primed for the Brisbane Cup thanks to his Doomben run.

The winner of 10 races, Benzini is trained by Kiwis Adrian and Harry Bull who have had several top horses including the group one winning sprinter-miler Nashville.

"Adrian and Harry do a very good job with their team and Benzini is a most consistent horse," Myers said.


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