2024 Queensland Racing Carnival homepage
  • Home
  • News
  • Clark hunting second Stradbroke on Vilana

Clark hunting second Stradbroke on Vilana

Fri 14 June 2024

By Mandy Cottell and Brad Bishop 

Tim Clark says Vilana only has to run up to his latest performance to give the Stradbroke Handicap a shake.

Having put his hand up to ride Vilana in the Stradbroke Handicap prior to the horse's thumping Moreton Cup win, Clark suddenly finds himself in the box seat for a second success in Queensland's premier race.

Vilana has firmed into $5 outright favouritism for Saturday's $3 million showpiece, rocketing into contention with a romp at Eagle Farm last weekend when ridden by James McDonald.

Unable to make Vilana's 53kg Stradbroke weight, McDonald was never in contention to stick with him for the feature and trainer James Cummings was having difficulty finding a rider until Clark offered his services prior to the five-year-old's impressive last-start win.

It is looking like an astute decision by Clark as he chases a second Stradbroke Handicap triumph following Alligator Blood's victory two years ago.

Vilana has missed a place in the past two renewals of the race, but Clark points out there will be an important difference on Saturday.

"He's a gelding this time and he is going into the race in the right form," Clark said.

"He didn't have to run on Saturday, he would have already made the field, so the fact that James (Cummings) wanted to run him I guess is a good sign that he is happy and thriving.

"He has just got to produce that sort of performance and it will have him somewhere in the finish.

"He has had a couple of goes at the Stradbroke without a result so hopefully it's third time lucky."

Clark will also be replacing McDonald in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins aboard the Chris Waller-trained Imperialist.

McDonald steered the youngster to victory in last Saturday's Phoenix Stakes but had a long-term commitment to the Cummings-trained odds-on favourite Broadsiding.

Clark is more than happy to reunite with Imperialist after riding him two starts ago when he finished fourth on Randwick's Kensington track.

"He is going to run a mile on his ear and that is one thing that is going to be in his favour," Clark said.

"Obviously, the favourite has proven he can run it too, but there might be some question marks over some of the other horses running out a strong mile."

The Group 1 pair form part of a handy program of Eagle Farm rides for Clark, whose book also includes Tulloch Lodge colt Bases Loaded in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic and Waller's dual Group placegetter Roots in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes.

Meanwhile, it takes a bit to unseat the Golden Slipper winner for Australian Champion 2YO honours these days, but Broadsiding gets his chance to apply more pressure to Lady Of Camelot this Saturday at Eagle Farm.

The James Cummings-trained colt will be out to stretch his winning streak to four with a second Group 1 win in the $1 million J.J. Atkins. 

Broadsiding won the Group 1 Champagne Stakes in April, the middle pin of a winning hat-trick that started with the Listed Fernhill Stakes and included the Group 2 BRC Sires' Produce Stakes last time out.

The fact the son of Too Darn Hot's wins has come on tracks rated between Soft 5 and Heavy 10 from a variety of settling positions underline his quality, according to Cummings.

"I think it's a great sign that he can overcome all of those scenarios and win races," Cummings said.

"That puts him right up there with the better two-year-olds, there's no question he's the real deal and the horse to beat in this J.J. Atkins.

"He's a beautifully sound two-year-old, he's not heavy, he's agile and, most importantly, once we've had him up in trip to a mile and trained him for these races, he's responded and matured so beautifully."

Broadsiding will create history if he can win the J.J. Atkins and become Cummings' second 2YO Of The Year, behind 2019 winner Microphone.

Dracula, the 1998 Champion 2YO, won the BRC Sires' Produce Stakes when it carried Group 1 status and he remains the only 2YO Of The Year who did not contest the Golden Slipper, a race Cummings bypassed with Broadsiding.

Introduced for the 1994-95 season, Merlene, Catbird, Dance Hero and Miss Finland were the only Slipper winners to be crowned Champion 2YO in the first 13 years, but Microphone is one of only two non-Slipper winners to win the award in the past 15 years.

The other was Earthquake (2014), who finished second in the Slipper after winning the Blue Diamond.

Broadsiding was ridden by Jamie Kah in the BRC Sires' but regains the services of James McDonald this weekend with the pair to start from barrier two in the field of 14.