Stradbroke Handicap Day 2022 Preview

The 2022 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival will reach its zenith when the Stradbroke Handicap unfolds at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Queensland’s greatest race has attracted an elite field of superstar sprinters this year, led by the talented Eleven Eleven. However, he faces stern competition from the likes of Ayrton, Alligator Blood, Apache Chase and BRC Sprint winner Soxagon, so it promises to be a thrilling race.

It will certainly be the main event, but there are some other big races to look out for on Stradbroke Handicap Day. The Q22 has a prize purse of $1.2 million, making it the second richest race of the winter carnival, while the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes carries a $1 million purse and the Group 2 Brisbane Cup should be interesting too.

We have assessed the main contenders for the Stradbroke Handicap and then provided an overview of the other big races taking place on Saturday at Eagle Farm Racecourse.


Stradbroke Handicap 2022 Race Details

The Stradbroke Handicap is the penultimate race of the day. The action gets underway with the Oxlade Stakes, a listed race for two-year-olds, at 11:43, and the Stradbroke Handicap is Race 8, with a start time of 15:53. It will be held 40 minutes after the JJ Atkins Stakes.

The prize money for the 2022 Stradbroke Handicap is $1.5 million. This Group 1 race takes place over 1400m on the right-handed turf track. There are 17 confirmed runners for the 2022 Stradbroke Handicap, and these are the leading lights in the field:


Eleven Eleven

Greg Hickman’s five-year-old gelding is the 6.00 favourite in our fixed-odds futures on the Stradbroke Handicap. Eleven Eleven tends to save his best performances for Queensland, and he impressed when finished third in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm on his last appearance. He finished that race with a flourish, ending up a third of a length behind winner Apache Chase. Eleven Eleven has been on an upward curve, and many punters expect him to be even stronger in this race. He has two wins from his last six starts, he enjoys this trip and he has previously placed three times at Eagle Farm. Eleven Eleven should enjoy a gun run coming out of Gate 4, and he is seen as the one to beat. He is 2.25 for a fixed place on Saturday.



Ayrton returns to the scene of his famous win in last year’s Gunsynd Classic on Saturday. He enjoyed a strong 3-year-old campaign, and the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr runner picked up where he left off by winning the Group 3 Victoria Handicap at Caulfield in April. He was then a distant eighth behind Zaaki in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes at Gold Coast on May 7, and he has not raced since. The Hollindale takes place over 1800m, and Ayrton should enjoy the step down in trip for the Stradbroke Handicap. He is the second favorite at 7.00 in the fixed win market, while a fixed place on Ayrton is priced at 2.50.


Alligator Blood

Alligator Blood is seen as the wildcard in this race. The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained five-year-old put in a strong performance when he was narrowly second to Soxagon in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Eagle Farm on May 28. Alligator Blood is better suited to the slightly longer trip in the Stradbroke Handicap, and he drops 4kg for this race. He has two wins under his belt at Eagle Farm, making him a track specialist, and he is priced at 11.00 in the fixed win market for the 2022 Stradbroke Handicap, or 3.40 for a fixed place.


Apache Chase

Apache Chase is neck-and-neck with Alligator Blood in the betting at 11.00 for a fixed win and 3.40 for a fixed place. He managed to hold off a late onslaught from Paulele, Eleven Eleven and Rothfire to win the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup on his last start. He will need to find some additional staying power for the Straddie, which is 100m longer, as he was not exactly crying out for a longer trip that day. Yet he drops 3.5kg, and he should be among the pacesetters under Jim Byrne, so he is certainly a contender.



Eagle Farm trainer Tony Gollan’s mare is next in the betting at 12.00 for a fixed win and 3.60 for the place. Isotope would be a popular winner with the Brisbane crowd, but she will need to generate a drastic improvement on her recent performances. She was ninth in the Kingsford-Smith on her last start, and seventh of 14 in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 prior to that. Isotope’s last big win came in January, when she landed the 1200m Magic Millions Snippets at Gold Coast. That was a superb performance, and she will need to channel that sort of energy on Saturday.



The Mark Currie-trained six-year-old gelding is in the form of his life right now. He held off the marauding Alligator Blood to land the BRC Spring last time out, and he now drops 3.5kg for the Stradbroke Handicap. This will certainly be a sterner test of his mettle, but Soxagon should be there or thereabouts in the closing stages of this race. He is priced at 15.00 for a fixed win and 3.90 in the fixed-odds to place.


Private Eye

Private Eye finished a little more than two lengths behind Apache Chase in the 1300m Kingsford-Smith on his last start. However, he finished gamely in a wider position, and trainer Joe Pride can see him flourishing on Saturday. “He has freshened up really well and I think the Stradbroke is a really nice race for him now,” said Pride. Last year, Private Eye won the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over 1600m at Randwick, and he could be dangerous if he hits his stride in the Stradbroke. He is 15.00 to win and 4.20 to place in the fixed-odds markets.


The Rest

Rothfire is another contender, priced at 16.00 to win and 4.20 to place, after he finished less than half a length behind Apache Chase in the Kingsford-Smith. Annabel Neasham’s Laws of Indices is also 16.00 to win this race. Longer shots include Vilana, Startantes, Frankie Pinot, I Am Superman, Emerald Kingdom, Buffalo River, Flying Crazy, Scallopini, Ranch Hand, Bandersnatch, Niccanova, Tycoonist and finally Wild Planet, the 101.00 roughie.


The Q22, 2002 Preview

This Group 2 race was introduced last year, replacing the now defunct Eagle Farm Cup in a revamped winter carnival. The $1.2 million prize pool helps it attract a strong field. Last year, Neasham was celebrating after Zaaki justified his status as the odds-on favourite to salute.

This time around, Huetor is the favourite for the 2200m race. It takes place at 14:38 on Saturday, making it Race 6 on the card. On his last start, he chased down Zaaki to secure a first Group 1 win, so it is easy to see why he is the favourite. You can take him at fixed-odds of 3.10 to win the race and 1.60 to place.

Maximal is the second favourite at 6.00 to win and 2.25 to place. He only has one win to his name, but the son of Galileo held his own against strong runners in the UK, and he ran Huetor close when finishing second in the Group 1 Doomben Cup at Eagle Farm on May 28. Zaaki was third in that race.

Hopeful is another leading contender, trained by Neasham, who is bidding to repeat last year’s success in this race. This import finished runner-up on his Australian debut and won the Lord Mayor’s Cup at Rosehill in his last appearance. Hopeful looked just as impressive as Huetor overseas, so he could give the favourite something to worry about on Saturday. Esti Feny and Coventina Bay – a dual Group 1 winner across the Tasman Sea – are the other big names in the field.


JJ Atkins Stakes 2022 Preview

This Group 1 race takes place over 1600m. It is for two-year-olds only, and it has unearthed future stars such as The Autumn Sun. The JJ Atkins is the seventh race of the day, sandwiched between The Q22 and the Stradbroke Handicap at 15:13.

Sharp N Smart (4.40) is the narrow favourite ahead of Political Debate (4.80) and Sheeza Belter (4.80). Last weekend, Political Debate finished just ahead of Sharp N Smart to win The Phoenix at Eagle Farm. They will not have much time to recuperate, but they both looked impressive.

This race takes place over a further 100m, which should suit Sharp N Smart. Yet the much-hyped Political Debate was also bred for this distance, so it could be another close one. Sheza Belter won the $1 million Sires Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm, and she should relish the step up in trip.


Additional Races

You can also look forward to the historic Group 2 Brisbane Cup on Saturday. This 3200m is a true staying test, and we make Thorough Irish the 4.00 favourite.

The additional races on the card are the Oxlade Stakes, the Wayne Wilson, the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic, the Hinkler Handicap and the final race of the day, the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes.


You can check out all the latest Stradbroke Handicap Day betting markets at the TopSport horse racing betting page. 


**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.