Horse Racing

Stradbroke Handicap: Cult horse The Harrovian popular with punters

Not even the likes of global conglomerates Godolphin have landed back-to-back Stradbroke Handicap victories but punters are backing North Queensland property tycoon Tom Hedley to achieve the feat with The Harrovian on Saturday.

The horse with a cult following after his incredible winning streak has been heavily supported with TAB, recording more bets than any other runner in the race.

After double-figure odds were offered following his run in the Doomben 10,000, The Harrovian is now rated a $7 chance after being well supported throughout the week along with Tony Gollan’s Vega One.

BRC TV: Nathan Exelby previews the 2021 Stradbroke Handicap….

BRC TV: Nathan Exelby previews the 2021 Stradbroke Handicap.

A 30-strong team will be on track to support “Big H” who sports Hedley’s now famous bright orange silks which have become synonymous with racing in North Queensland.

The Harrovian has the opportunity replicate former North Queensland champion Tyzone, who won the Group 1 last year.

Ironically, Hedley received more prizemoney ($270,000) in 2019 for running second with Tyzone than he did for winning ($253,000) a Covid-19-ravaged edition in 2020.

Former trainer Stephen Massingham (left) and owner Tom Hedley after The Harrovian won at Doomben last year. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:The Courier-Mail

With more than a million dollars in extra prizemoney in the purse this time around, The Harrovian would pocket Hedley $900,000 if he was to win on Saturday.

Legendary jockey Glen Boss said outside of Srikandi in 2014, The Harrovian represents his best chance in his hometown feature race.

The three-time Melbourne Cup winner received the call-up with regular jockey Brad Stewart unable to ride at 53kg.

“I have followed the story about this horse,” Boss said of his incredible winning streak.

“I met the (ownership) group last winter after they won the Stradbroke and they were flying – it was great fun.

“He had 53kg and they knew (regular jockey) Brad (Stewart) couldn’t ride the weight so we were playing golf a few times at The Grand and they told me to keep an eye on The Harrovian because he was going well.

“He came out and ran a really good race in the (Doomben) 10,000 and the form has all married up.

“It would be great for Queensland and racing up here if he could win.”

STRADBROKE HANDICAP TIPS

Ben Dorries

1. I Am Superman – Has sailed under the radar but is set to spring a surprise at big odds. The Snowdens have worked out he is best kept fresh and his win over Think It Over reads well for this.

2. Wild Planet – Beat home Vega One and The Harrovian in the Doomben 10,000 and has a sense of timing for this. Can storm home and give the race a mighty shake.

3. Vega One – Picks himself with his astonishing win in the Kingsford-Smith Cup. Is low flying but will need to surge through the gaps again at the right time.

4. Tofane – Group 1 winner who dodged the sales ring when charging home in the BRC Sprint and this race looks right in her sweet spot.

Trenton Akers

1. The Harrovian – A proven winner who has drawn sweetly to put himself right in the race. Perfectly weighted with Glen Boss aboard.

2. Vega One – Incredible win in the Kingsford-Smith Cup, clearly the horse to beat if he can pull that performance out again.

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3. I Am Superman – Looks to be set for this assignment, was low flying in a recent barrier trial and gets in with no weight on his back.

4. Apache Chase – Flying machine will give a huge sight out in front from a low draw, is proven to handle the track and knocked off boom horse Ayrton last start.

Originally published asStradbroke punters rally for cult hero Big H

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