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VEGA ONE FIRMS AS STRADBROKE FAVOURITE AFTER BARRIER DRAW

Wed 9 June 2021

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Tony Gollan’s bid for his first Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap win has received a massive boost with Vega One drawing perfectly for Saturday’s $1.5 million feature at Eagle Farm.

Vega One - an explosive winner of the Group 1 Kingsford Smith last start - drew barrier 4, much to the delight of Brisbane’s seven-time premiership winning trainer.

Vega One jumped from barrier 15 when an eye-catching fourth to Tyzone in last year’s Stradbroke but his career was then at the crossroads after injuring his suspensory.

However, after a lengthy stint recovering with Lee Everson in Victoria, Vega One resurrected his career to be in contention for back-to-back wins at the highest level at his fourth start this campaign.

“It’s a lot better draw this year than last year,” Gollan said.

“I’m really happy with his barrier although he’ll still get back, I don’t want to expose him too early.”

Gollan has tried several times to win the Stradbroke Handicap but his best result was with Temple Of Boom who finished second to River Lad in 2014.

Vega One’s favourable draw has seen him rocket into outright favouritism at $5.50 in the Stradbroke with the Team Hawkes-trained Wild Planet at $6.50 after drawing a horror gate 15.

North Queensland cult hero The Harrovian will jump from nine if two of the three emergencies don’t obtain starts.

Co-trainer Toby Edmonds wasn’t overly concerned what barrier The Harrovian drew with the race certain to be run at a fast tempo.

“The draw didn’t matter too much as there’s good speed in the race,” Edmonds said.

“It’s a handicap race, so for us the important thing was to get him into the race with a light weight.

“We set him for the Stradbroke after the Bernborough then we sent him to Melbourne for the All Star Mile but the Stradbroke has always been his goal.

“I’m confident he’ll perform a lot better than he did when he ran third in the Doomben 10,000 last start.”

Meanwhile, Adelaide sprinter Savatoxl drew wide in gate 13 in his bid to become only the second horse to win the Goodwood-Stradbroke double in the same year.

Only one horse, Santa Ana Lane, has won the double when the Anthony Freedman-trained sprinter was successful in 2018.

Savatoxl was a fading sixth to Vega One in the Kingsford-Smith and his price has blown to $31 following the draw.

The five-year-old has won up to 1600 metres but that was when he was racing against mediocre opposition in Alice Springs for his previous trainer Will Savage.

His current trainer Tony McEvoy admitted he was surprised by the five-year-old’s Goodwood Handicap victory.

“I questioned whether he was good enough when he first came down from the Northern Territory but he’s gone on to be a Group 1 winner,” McEvoy said.

“I thought going into the Goodwood they’d be too good for him but he showed he was up with the big boys.

“He’s a fast horse and loves the rails so it’ll be catch us if you can but I’d be much happier if it was 1200 metres.”