Stradbroke Handicap: History, Past Winners, Prize Money & Winner Trends

The Stradbroke Handicap is the richest and most prestigious race within the eagerly anticipated Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. Every year, many of the country’s leading sprinters, jockeys and trainers head to Eagle Farm to vie for glory in the race.

TopSport customers can intensify the excitement by betting on the Stradbroke Handicap. This guide will prepare you for the action. We will explore the history of the Straddie, highlight the race details and the prize money, delve into famous winners, stats and trends, and provide an explanation of how to bet on the big race.


Stradbroke Handicap History

The Stradbroke Handicap was inaugurated back in 1890. It was named after Lord Stradbroke, a famous Queenslander who was related to Henry John Rous, the inventor of the weight-for-age scale in thoroughbred racing.

It was initially run over six furlongs (1200m). Pyrrhus was the first winner of the Straddie, as it is fondly known. The race was run over six furlongs until 1954, when it switched to seven furlongs. It was converted to its current distance of 1400m in 1973.

The Stradbroke Handicap has taken place on an annual basis since 1890, apart from a four-year hiatus during World War II. It continued to run during the First World War and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 1980, the race achieved Group 1 status. There was controversy that year, as winner Ducatoon was stripped of victory after returning a positive swab during testing. Victory was awarded to Bemboka Yacht, the second horse past the post.

Between 1982 and 1988, it was known as the Elders Handicap, before returning to its historical title. The Stradbroke Handicap rose to greater prominence when the prize money shot up to $1 million in 1996, making it one of the country’s richest races. It has continued to increase since then.

The race normally takes place at Eagle Farm Racecourse, but it moved to the adjacent course at Doomben Racecourse in 2017 and 2018 while Eagle Farm was being renovated. The race was run over a shorter distance of 1350m during that time, due to the track size at Doomben, and that can play havoc with 10-year winner trends.

Legendary trainer Bart Cummings holds the record for the most wins in Stradbroke Handicap history. He saddled Campaign King (1988), Robian Steel (1989), Never Undercharge (1993) and Dane Ripper (1997).


Stradbroke Handicap Race Info

The Stradbroke Handicap is a Grade 1 open handicap race. It is run over a distance of 1400m on the right-handed turf track at Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane each year.

The Straddie is the main event within the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival. It carries a larger prize purse and greater prestige than races such as the Doomben 10,000, the JJ Atkins Stakes and the Kingsford-Smith Cup.

The Stradbroke Handicap normally takes place mid-June, making it one of the final Group 1 races of the year. The Tatt’s Tiara is held two weeks later. In 2022, the Straddie will be held on 11th June. Stradbroke Handicap Day will also feature The Q22 – the second richest race of the carnival – along with the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes and the Group 2 Brisbane Cup.


Stradbroke Handicap Prize Money

Prize money for the Stradbroke Handicap reached its Apex in 2014, when it increased to $2 million. That made it the richest 1400m race in the world, forming part of a grand plan to make it into an international race featuring runners from Hong Kong, Japan and Europe.

However, it was then cut back down to $1.5 million. It remained at that level until 2020, when it dropped to just $350,000 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it returned to $1.5 million last year, and it will stay at that level in 2022.

That leaves the Stradbroke Handicap ahead of The Q22 ($1.2 million), Doomben 10,000 ($1 million), JJ Atkins Stakes ($1 million), BRC Sires Produce Stakes ($1 million), Kingsford-Smith Cup ($700,000) and Doomben Cup ($700,000) as the richest race in the Brisbane Winter Carnival.


Stradbroke Handicap Notable Winners

There have been many famous winners of the Stradbroke Handicap over the years. These are the most notable names from the long list:


Babel (1895 and 1896)

Babel became the first horse to win back-to-back Stradbroke Handicaps when he saluted in 1895 and 1896. Gold Tie repeated the feat in 1918 and 1919, and then the wonderfully named Petrol Lager won in 1934 and 1935.


Lucky Ring (1949 and 1950)

Lucky Ring became the fourth dual Stradbroke Handicap winner with back-to-back triumphs in 1949 and 1950. He almost made it a treble in 1951, but he ended up second to Aqua Regis that year. Victory in 1951 would have made Lucky Ring the most successful runner in the race’s history, but he fell just short. 


Wiggle (1958)

Only five two-year-olds have won the Stradbroke Handicap during its long and illustrious history. The last was Wiggle, a remarkable galloper who began her career with a fourth-place finish in the Canterbury. She followed it up with five straight wins, including the Champagne Stakes, and then went on to land the Stradbroke Handicap. Wiggle ultimately won 21 of her 55 starts, before she was sold to America, where she would go on to secure another 20 victories.


Persian Lyric (1961)

Persian Lyric was a champion three-year-old, winning the Canterbury Guineas, AJC Derby and QTC Derby, and placing in the Cox Plate, QTC Derby and AJC Derby. The following year, he won the Stradbroke Handicap.


Daybreak Lover (1984 and 1986)

Daybreak Lover was a local hero in Queensland. He won the Stradbroke Handicap in 1984 and returned to salute again two years later. He won 11 of 40 starts.


Rough Habit (1991 and 1992)

The New Zealand-bred horse won 11 Group 1 races on both sides of the Tasman. He was crowned New Zealand Horse of the Year twice and inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame. Along with back-to-back Stradbrokes, he won the Queensland Derby, the Caulfield Stakes, the AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes and three consecutive Doomben Cups.


Dane Ripper (1997)

Bart Cummings’ star mare won the Stradbroke in 1997 and went on to claim the Cox Plate a few months later. Subsequent victories included the Australian Cup and the Manikato Stakes. She was named Australian Champion Mare in 1998.


La Montagna (2006)

La Montagna became the pride of Queensland when she saluted for Eagle Farm trainer Barry Baldwin in 2006. She carried just 48.5kg that year. La Montagna raced three and four deep during the race, and then she delivered a powerful finish to outstrip her rivals. She was crowned Queensland Horse of the Year.


Black Piranha (2009 and 2010)

Black Piranha became the first dual champion since Rough Habit. He was the favourite in 2009, but he found himself as a 13.00 outsider to defend his crown the following year. Black Piranha made a mockery of those odds by destroying his rivals yet again.


River Lad (2014)

Natalie McCall, a prominent Sunshine Coast trainer, earned her first Group 1 victory when River Lad saluted in 2014. It made her the first female trainer to succeed in the Stradbroke Handicap. River Lad displayed impressive stamina to hold off the challenge of Temple Of Boom down the straight.


Stradbroke Handicap 2021 Winner

Michael Moroney-trained mare Tofane got the better of favourite Vega One in a fierce duel down the home straight to win last year’s Stradbroke Handicap. She had been entered for the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale the previous month, but her owners eventually decided to withdraw her and have another crack at a Group One win.

It was a decision that paid dividends. Tofane went off as a $12.90 outsider, as she was winless in more than a year, but a runner-up finish in the Group 3 BRC Spring at Doomben two weeks previously suggested she was on an upward curve. She finished half a length clear of Vega One, with long shot Signore Fox in third.


Stradbroke Handicap Winner Stats & Trends

Six-year-olds have dominated this race in recent years. They have secured six wins in the Stradbroke since 2008, including 2020 winner Tyzone. The last two-year-old to win was Wiggle in 1958, and Impending in 2017 was the last three-year-old winner.

Favourites have struggled to justify their status in this race. Since 2000, only four have won the Stradbroke Handicap: Private Steer (2003), Thorn Park (2004), Black Piranha (2009) and Trekking (2019). The average winning price since 2000 is $14.23. Dawn Passage, the $4.20 favourite, finished seventh in 2020 and Vega One was second last year.

The average weight carried by winners this millennium is 53kg. No horse carrying top weight has saluted in that time. The heaviest weight carried by a winner was 55.5kg for Black Piranha in 2010.

The key lead-up race is the Doomben 10000. It is also worth noting that double-digit barriers have not proved to be a disadvantage since the turn of the century.


Stradbroke Handicap 2022 Betting

You can bet on the Stradbroke Handicap 2022 by visiting TopSport. We will offer betting on the win place, exacta, quinella, trifecta and much more.

We have already released fixed win and fixed place odds on the Stradbroke Handicap. Apache Chase is the narrow favourite ahead of Ayrton, Entriviere and Eleven Eleven at this stage.