Jockey Jim Byrne is hoping for a good barrier draw to give Vega One every chance to win the 2020 Group 1 $350,000 The Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.

Vega One, above, is one of the main chances in the 2020 The Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Vega One, above, is one of the main chances in the 2020 The Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Byrne had his first race ride on Vega One last Saturday in the Group 2 $175,000 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm and while the Tony Gollan trained sprinter didn’t figure in the finish, he wasn’t disappointed with the run.

Vega One got stranded three wide for the entire trip after Byrne was unable to slot the big bay into a trailing position after jumping from barrier seven in the thirteen horse field.

Byrne said that even though Vega One was beaten just over three lengths when finishing ninth, he is certain that if he can draw a nice barrier in the Stradbroke Handicap, he will be able to find some cover for the four year old which will give him a chance to produce his powerful finish.

“I probably erred. I should have sat straight in behind Victorem,” Byrne told Radio TAB’s Past The Post.

“Unfortunately Freddie Fox Trot kicked up underneath and hence that sat me out on a limb.

“The horse just worked the whole time. He never switched off. It’s quite imperative he switches off.

“I had never been on Vega One’s back, I’m just so pleased I was able to get a ride on him (Saturday). While he didn’t really attack the line, he never switched off at any point.

“Coming into the Stradbroke if we get that good draw, the most important part is he needs to be covered up.

“If you go back through his races, when he does have cover, the horse really attacks the line.

“For us to win the Stradbroke, that’s what I need to do, so he can show that good turn of foot.”

Vega One is guaranteed a start in the Stradbroke Handicap after winning an exemption from the ballot because of his win in the $250,000 The Gateway (1400m) at Eagle Farm on December 14 and he will drop from his Victory Stakes weight of 56.5kg to the lightweight of 52kg.

Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au still have Vega One fairly prominent in the betting for the Stradbroke Handicap at $11 alongside of last year’s runner up Tyzone while the James Cummings trained Trekking heads the market order at $6.

Trekking carried the Godolphin royal blue colours to victory in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap and the five year old has found winning form at the right time and will head to Queensland on the back of his win in the Group 1 $400,000 The Furphy Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.

Trekking carried 54kg when a clear winner last year but will have to burden the top weight of 58kg after original top weight Santa Ana Lane, who was given 58.5kg, was sent for a spell before preparing for the Spring.

Early betting for the 2020 The Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Trekking, $7 Dawn Passage, $8 Victorem, $11 Tyzone, Vega One, $12 Niccanova, $13 Hightail, $17 Kementari, Outback Barbie, $19 Deep Image, Ranier, $21 Exhilarates, $26 Amangiri, The Inevitable, $31 Crack Me Up, Irithea, Military Zone, Savatiano, Tactical Advantage,  $34 Graff, Grand Piano, Phaistos, $51 or better the rest.


About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.