The Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap is the richest race staged during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with a $1million prize fund and attracts some of the best sprinters in the game to Eagle Farm Racecourse every June.
Staged over the 1400m distance, it is one of the most competitive sprints staged each year and certainly the toughest to predict during the Carnival, which takes place between May and June each year at the Doomben and Eagle Farm Racecourses.
It is an open handicap and features a guaranteed full field of runners who will surge towards victory and attempt to join some familiar names on the roll of honour - the likes of dual winner Rough Habit (1991 and 1992), All Our Mob (1994), Dane Ripper (1997), course record holder Toledo (1998), Show A Heart (2002), Sniper's Bullet (2007) and Mr Baritone (2008).
The Stradbroke Handicap, named after Lord Stradbroke who was a relative of Admiral Rous - the man who helped shape the weight for age scale in horse racing, was first held in 1890 when won by Pyrrhus. It was staged over 1200m until 1953 when Suncup won the first race run over the current 1400m trip.
The race was upgraded to Group 1 status in 1980 when Ducatoon won the race but was later disqualified due to a positive test. Victory instead went to Bemboka Yacht. The prize money was increased to $1million in 1996, the year in which Danasinga was victorious.
Only one two-year-old has ever triumphed in the race, that being Wiggle in 1958, and four-year-olds have by far the best record, while Rough Habit and Campaign King (1988) are the only two horses to carry he top weight of 58.5kg to victory in the race during 100+ years of history.
The leading contenders for the Stradbroke Handicap will tend to arrive via the Group 1 Doomben 10,000, held two weeks earlier during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival at Doomben Racecourse. Others will have contested the Group 1 BTC Cup at Doomben or the Group 2 QTC Cup at Eagle Farm.
Stradbroke Day is the biggest, best and richest race meet held at Eagle Farm with the Stradbroke Handicap being joined by the Group 1 Queensland Derby, which features the best three-year-old colts, and the Group 1 JJ Atkins, formerly known as the TJ Smith, for two-year-olds. The Group 2 Brisbane Cup and Group 3 Dane Ripper Quality Handicap also form part of a classy day's racing.