The Stradbroke Handicap Run at Doomben in 2015
The Doomben Racecourse is currently under the operation of the Brisbane Racing Club, which was formed on July 1, 2009. The racecourse is located just seven kilometres from the city centre of Brisbane in the suburb of Ascot, and is within walking distance of Brisbane’s other main racecourse, Eagle Farm.
The first race meeting was held at Doomben Racecourse in 1933 and Doomben now hosts some of Australia’s most prestigious meetings each year. Doomben Racecourse is an oval track with tight turns, meaning that great advantage is given to runners who have the inside rail. Furthermore, front and on pace runners have the advantage on this track. The track circumference is 1,715 metres and the straight is 350 metres long. Racing at Doomben is conducted in an anti-clockwise direction and the grass track is known for its excellent drainage system that can overcome heavy rain. Doomben has three chutes on the track, with one at 1,350 metres, another at 1,650 metres and the last at 2,200 metres.
Doomben features a state of the art grandstand that provides all race goers with the perfect view of the racetrack and the home straight, as well as excellent dining facilities.
The Stradbroke Handicap
The Stradbroke Handicap is a Group 1 handicap race that is traditionally run at Eagle Farm Racecourse, however in 2015 the Stradbroke Handicap was run at Doomben while Eagle Farm underwent redevelopment. Run in June of each year, the Stradbroke Handicap is run over a distance of 1,400 metres and is worth $2 million. Stradbroke Day is the biggest day of Brisbane’s Winter Racing Carnival and is run on the same day as the Group 1 Queensland Derby for three-year-olds and the Group 1 TJ Smith (JJ Atkins) for two-year-olds.
The History of the Race
The inaugural running of the Stradbroke Handicap took place back in 1890 and was named after Lord Stradbroke who was a relative of Admiral Rous who himself was a creator of the weight-for-age scale. The Stradbroke Handicap is one of the toughest 1,400 metre handicap races in Australia and it consistently attracts a full capacity quality field. Racehorses who are strong milers traditionally perform the best in the Stradbroke Handicap.
The Stradbroke Handicap was first run over a distance of six furlongs (1200m) when it was won by Pyrrhus. The distance then increased to today’s 1,400 metres in 1953. Over the years, four-year-old horses have generally dominated the race, while one two-year-old, Wiggle, won the race back in 1958 carrying 46.5 kilograms. The Stradbroke Handicap was not held for four years from 1942-1945 due to the Second World War.
The Road to Doomben
The Group 1 Doomben 10,000 and the Group 2 QTC Cup are often avenues potential Stradbroke Handicap runners choose to take on their way to the big race. Rough Habit (1992), All Our Mob (1994), Adam (1999), Show A Heat (2002) and Private Steer (2003) all finished runner-up in the Doomben 10,000 before claiming victory in the prestigious Stradbroke Handicap. Toledo (1998) holds the record for the fastest winning time in the Stradbroke Handicap, passing the post in just 1 minute and 20.2 seconds.
Notable winners of the Stradbroke Handicap include Gold Tie (1921-22), Highland (1927-28), Triton (1972), Grey Receiver (1982), Thorn Park (2004), Sniper’s Bullet (2007) and Black Piranha (2009-10).