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BELLA STRADBROKE DAY

BELLA NIPOTINA winning the Giga Kick Stakes in Rosehill, Australia.
BELLA NIPOTINA winning the Giga Kick Stakes in Rosehill, Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

By Michael Wrona, International Racing Expert

The biggest race day of the year in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia will feature an all-stakes nine-race card this Friday night. Sky Racing World's Jason Witham will broadcast live from Eagle Farm Racecourse on FanDuel TV, with yours truly in the studio and Adam McGrath chiming in via remote. The Godolphin powerhouse sends out the favorites for both Grade 1 races: Vilana in the AU$3 million Stradbroke Handicap and Broadsiding in the JJ Atkins Stakes. The program, boasting an average field size of 14 (not counting Also Eligibles), gets underway at 9:43 p.m. Eastern / 6:43 Pacific.

2023 Stradbroke winner, Think About It, went on to capture The Everest (world's richest turf race) four months later. This year's renewal of the seven-furlong handicap (Race 8) is exceptionally open:

#6 Vilana (4-1 favorite) takes his third shot at the Stradbroke, this time as a gelding off an easy Grade 2 win at six furlongs last Friday night. It was the last of five winners ridden by James McDonald, who rues not being able to make Vilana's 116 pounds this weekend. "He exploded today and, down in the weights in the Stradbroke, he will be a very good chance," McDonald said. "He has been promising that sort of performance for a while. He is a really, really good horse." Godolphin's trainer, James Cummings, added "He's a dynamic late bloomer into the race. He was a rank outsider a week ago and we were struggling to find a jockey, but I think Tim Clark will be happy he got on the front foot and secured the ride." 

#3 Antino (7-1) is the top local hope, trained by champion Brisbane conditioner Tony Gollan. Antino is 5-for-7 at Eagle Farm and G1-placed in Melbourne.

#2 Magic Time (11-1) and #10 Amenable (9-1) were the exacta horses in the G1 All Aged Stakes, at seven furlongs, during The Championships at Randwick in April. Amenable gets a significant 10-pound weight swing in his favor, for a neck defeat. 

#1 Bella Nipotina and #4 Benedetta (each 10-1) are top-quality mares with a recent Grade 1 victory, but with obstacles to overcome. Bella Nipotina will not enjoy her preferred soft conditions and must handle the highweight of 123 pounds. Only three horses in the past forty years have won the Stradbroke with more than 122. Benedetta has never raced beyond six furlongs. Additionally, both mares are "going to the well" again after long campaigns, which kicked off in February. 

#17 Stefi Magnetica (10-1) tries to become the first 3-year-old filly to win the Stradbroke Handicap since 2006. Her dam won the 2012 running. Stefi Magnetica has had a largely luckless 12-start career and is dangerous with the "featherweight" of 110 pounds.

The JJ Atkins Stakes (Race 6) is a one-mile Grade 1 test for late-season 2-year-olds (the southern hemisphere season runs August-July):

#1 Broadsiding (3-5 favourite) scored his first career win in a Listed stakes in April at Randwick going a mile, then took the G1 Champagne Stakes at the same track and distance a week later. Freshened for a trip to Brisbane, the Godolphin colt scored a smashing victory two weeks ago at Eagle Farm in a seven-furlong Grade 2 prep. "There was a bit of traffic in the early and middle stages," Cummings explained. "Considering the difficulties he had to overcome, it was an outstanding effort to win. Broadsiding has a devastating turn of foot."
Broadsiding's star is on the rise, mirroring that of his leading Australian first-season sire, Too Darn Hot. Bred and raced by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's stud in England, Too Darn Hot was the Champion 2-year-old of Great Britain in 2018, then Champion 3-year-old miler of Europe. He was considered a top prospect for the 2019 Breeders' Cup Mile, before an injury-forced retirement. In recent weeks, Too Darn Hot has sired a Grade 1 winner in Ireland and a Grade 2 winner in Germany. He will again shuttle to Australia this August.

Friday night's marquee card is not the conclusion of Brisbane's "Winter Racing Carnival," which will continue to provide quality racing in Australia's "Sunshine State" of Queensland. The fillies and mares contesting Friday night's 7th race will be prepping for the Tattersall's Tiara, the nation's final Grade 1 race of the season on June 28.

The Eagle Farm card will be broadcast live on FanDuel TV this Friday night (First Post: 9:43 p.m. ET / 6:43 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Rosehill, Newcastle, Gold Coast, and Belmont. All races will be live-streamed in HD on the Sky Racing World App, skyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, FanDuel and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances, and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com. 

About Michael Wrona 

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.
 


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