Next month’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap is likely to feature a pair of exciting three-year-olds after Mental (Lonhro – Intrigues, by Night Shift) and Pampelonne (Rock Of Gibraltar – Jestajewel, by Rory’s Jester) hammered their rivals at Doomben and Scone respectively.
Mental showed an impressive turn of foot to defeat the smart Victorian three-year-old Amah Rock in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m).
The convincing nature of Mental’s victory convinced Darley’s main trainer Peter Snowden to put Brisbane’s premier sprint on the gelding’s agenda moments after he became the 33rd individual Stakes winner for last season’s champion sire Lonhro (Octagonal – Shadea, by Straight Strike)..
“It’s two weeks from now until the Guineas and then another week until the Stradbroke and I think the back-up will be perfect for him,” Snowden said.
“I’ve really looked after this little horse and cuddled him a bit and he showed us what we needed to see today.
“He’s always excited me with what he can do on the training track. Even when I work him by himself he does special things and he is an exciting horse.”
Pampelonne booked his ticket to Queensland when the Tim Martin-trained galloper led throughout to claim the $500,000 Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m). Martin said he could back up the three-year-old in next Saturday’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in a bid to force his way into the Stradbroke field.
“I just want to get him in there (the Stradbroke),” Martin said. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’ll just get him up there and work out a way.
“I’d love to go straight into it in a perfect world but we’ll just wait and see. If he travels to Brisbane well I’m actually looking at the 10,000 and then two weeks into the Stradbroke.”
The Inglis 3YO Guineas does not carry Stakes status but Sincero won the race last year before the gelding won the Stradbroke Handicap.