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Benedetta lands favourable Stradbroke draw

Wed 12 June 2024

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Jason Warren is hoping Benedetta will earn a slot for the $20 million The Everest at Randwick in October if the tough Victorian mare wins the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Benedetta, who drew perfectly in barrier six, has already attracted some interest from potential slots holders for The Everest following her victory in the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville last month.

“There’s been some interest already from some slot holders for The Everest and if she’s offered a slot then she’ll spell immediately after the Stradbroke and have one run before The Everest,” Warren said.

“Joe Pride has shown in previous years with Think About It and Private Eye that horses that run well in the Stradbroke are up to The Everest.”

While Benedetta drew well, Queensland’s best hope and early favourite Antino and Doomben 10,000 winner Bella Nipotina drew horror gates in 20 and 21 respectively causing a major market reshuffle.

The new favourite in latest markets is now Godolphin’s Vilana (barrier 14) at $6.50 while Antino is at $7.50 with Bendetta at $11.

Benedetta is attempting to become only the second horse, along with the Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane (2018), to claim The Goodwood and Stradbroke double in the same year.

Benedetta will be ridden by Daniel Stackhouse who is chasing his maiden Group 1 win. 

“Daniel knows her well and it’ll be a great story if he can win his first Group 1 on her,” Warren said.

“Daniel had ridden Benedetta in most of her previous races and it was a bitter pill to swallow when Jamie Kah was booked for The Goodwood.

“Unfortunately for Jamie, she was unavailable for the Stradbroke as she had a long-standing holiday booked.”

Warren cannot fault Benedetta since her arrival in Brisbane and has made an important gear change for her Stradbroke assignment.

“She wore blinkers for the first time in The Goodwood but Jamie felt she was waiting for other horses to get to her,” Warren said.

“I’m putting visors on her this time which I’ve used successfully in the past and she went well when she wore them in track work on Monday morning.

“With visors she’ll be able to see the other horses coming.”

The 47-year-old Warren has been training for 20 years and is hoping for his third win at the highest level with Benedetta.

He claimed his first Group 1 with Bel Sprinter in The Galaxy in 2013 but had to wait 11 years before notching up his second Group 1 with Benedetta last month.

Bel Sprinter earned an invite for the Group 1 International Sprint at Kranji in 2013 and he finished second to super star Lucky Nine.

Warren believes Benedetta has improved since her win in The Goodwood.

“She is as good, if not better, than when she won The Goodwood and I’m very confident she’ll run in the top four as she’s never been further back than fourth her entire career,” he said.