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Lipp still has Stradbroke dreams

Fri 10 May 2024

By Glenn Davis

Rex Lipp may be in the twilight of his career and has threatened to retire more than once, but the popular Toowoomba horseman shows no signs of pulling up stumps.

Lipp turns 76 this month and is going as strong as ever and still dreams of claiming his first Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap with talented three-year-old Cifrado.

Cifrado will take an important step towards the $3 million Stradbroke at Eagle Farm on June 15 in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas over 1200 metres at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

Lipp has already won two majors, firstly with Star Shiraz in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes in 2004 then with Tinto in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks, both at Eagle Farm, ten years later.

Cifrado has already proven himself three times at Group level by winning the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben following a pair of Group 2 victories in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and Spirit Of Boom Classic at Doomben last year.

It was around the time of Tinto’s Queensland Oaks victory that Lipp first contemplated retiring, but delays were forced upon him when he kept getting good horses like Gem Of Scotland, Our Beebee and now Cifrado.

Cifrado put his name up in lights for the Gold Coast Guineas with a flashing run in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate over an unsuitable 1000 metres at Eagle Farm last month.

The son of Encryption travelled midfield most of the way and was doing his best work late to finish less than two lengths from the Natalie McCall-trained winner, Tiger Shark.

“It was a fantastic run,” Lipp said.

“He’s not a 1000 metre horse but he had to start off somewhere.

“He got to the line very strongly and he’s ready to run a big race again.

“If he’s within three lengths of them on the home turn he’ll be hard to beat.”

Lipp plans to give Cifrado his final dress rehearsal for the Stradbroke Handicap in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic over 1400 metres at Eagle Farm on June 1.

Cifrado was a $320,000 Magic Millions buy as a yearling and is a half-brother to Tony Gollan’s former flyer Miami Fleiss. 

Until Magic Millions day at the Gold Coast in January, Lipp had never met Cifrado's owner Cliff Little who lives in Cairns and had only ever spoken to him by phone.

“He’s turned into a lovely horse since he was gelded a while back and I finally met his owner for the first time on Magic Millions day in January,” Lipp said.

Lipp is keeping a close watch on the weather with the Sunshine Coast track receiving 1400mm of rain in the past four months.

The Hollindale Stakes meeting is normally held at the Gold Coast but was moved last week to the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast track is rated a Heavy 10.

Cifrado has raced three times on rain-affected tracks, winning once on soft tracks, while he’s yet to be tested on heavy going.