2020 Brisbane Racing Carnival Preview: Saturday’s Group 1 highlights at Eagle Farm

Race Preview: Brisbane Winter Carnival


The Brisbane Racing Carnival – also called the Brisbane Racing Winter Carnival – has been a staple for Australian and New Zealand racing fans, and has featured some of our best horses, jockeys and trainers for nearly a century.
Importantly, it fills the void during the cold winter months, when racing looks north for some sun and fun – and Brisbane and the Coasts (Gold and Sunshine) offer that in spades.

Some of Australia’s best racehorses have etched their name in Brisbane Racing Carnival folklore – and none more so than Rough Habit, who dominated racing at Eagle Farm and Doomben in the early 1990s. Built more like a pit pony than Pegasus, Rough Habit won two Stradbroke Handicaps and three Doomben Cups between 1991 and 1993.

In recent years, Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has used the Brisbane Racing Carnival to launch the careers of some of his champion horses, including Winx and The Autumn Sun, both of which won their first Group 1 races at the carnival.

The 2020 Brisbane Racing Carnival has been abbreviated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Races such as the Queensland Derby, Queensland Oaks, Doomben Cup and Doomben 10,000 won’t be run. Instead, the highlight of the 2020 Brisbane Racing Carnival is a sensational Group 1 day of racing at Eagle Farm racecourse on 6 June. Sportsbet has all the betting markets offering the best odds.

Eagle Farm tips and schedule: The best of Group 1 racing

The Eagle Farm meeting on 6 June includes the only two Group 1 races of the 2020 Brisbane Racing Carnival – the $400,000 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m, race 8) and the $400,000 JJ Atkins Stakes (1400m, race 7). It is expected to be run on a good track.

On 13 June, the racing continues at Eagle Farm racecourse with the $175,000 Group 2 The Roses (1800m), the $175,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) and the $175,000 Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m). The Roses will replace the Queensland Oaks as the feature race for middle-distance three-year-old fillies, while the Tattersall’s Cup for the stayers is the obvious replacement for the Brisbane Cup.

JJ Atkins Stakes: 2.55pm at Eagle Farm

The JJ Atkins Stakes, for the rising-star two-year-olds, will be run over 1400m and it has attracted a very even field of exciting youngsters.

Named after famous local trainer Jim Atkins, the JJ Atkins Stakes has been won four times by Chris Waller, who has used this race to launch the careers of Caulfield Guineas winners The Autumn Sun and Press Statement.

The 2020 JJ Atkins Stakes field sees the three local stars Rothfire, Wisdom Of Water and Isotape clash with the visitors from the south, headed by Waller’s colt Spokesman and the Sydney filly Macroura, trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. The JJ Atkins tips centre on those five outstanding youngsters.

Rothfire is the early favourite to win in the JJ Atkins Stakes betting market; he had been easing in when betting started, but a draw in barrier 14 is scaring off a few punters. Wisdom Of Water is solid, while Isotope is regarded as an outside chance.

The ‘southern interloper’ filly Macroura, who is unbeaten in three starts, presents solid value in the JJ Atkin Stakes betting markets. She might beat them all.

Local trainers and father-and-son partnership Toby and Trent Edmonds have a strong hand with two serious hopes to give them their first Group 1 win – Wisdom Of Water is an exciting colt and The Drinks Cart is a very capable back up. If they win there will be something a lot stronger than water on the drinks’ cart.

JJ Atkins Tips: Wisdom Of Water looks the value bet to get the nice run on the pace and beat Macroura, who is also value. Those looking for a roughie should consider Tick Tock Boom.

Stradbroke Handicap: 3.35pm at Eagle Farm

The Stradbroke Handicap field is one of the most open in years, and the early Stradbroke Handicap tip is for Dawn Passage to give his legendary co-trainer Gai Waterhouse her first win in the race.

The three-year-old colt also is aiming to be the 33rd three-year-old to win the Stradbroke Handicap since it was first run in 1890.

The Stradbroke Handicap has attracted a very even capacity field of 18 runners and four emergencies. Some of the favourites, including Dawn Passage (barrier 23), have drawn wide, but it’s worth noting that the spacious Eagle Farm racecourse is very forgiving and most horses get their chances.

Dawn Passage is the favourite with punters in Sportsbet’s Stradbroke Handicap betting market.

Last year’s winner, Trekking, returns in an attempt to be the ninth horses to win the Stradbroke Handicap multiple times. Trainer James Cummings has three terrific chances with Exhilarates, Kementari and Ranier as back-ups to Trekking, who comes off winning The Goodwood in Adelaide – he is attempting to repeat Santa Ana Lane’s performance of winning The Goodwood–Stradbroke Handicap double in 2018.

Graff is an interesting runner. He drops 7kg on his fifth behind Ranier in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes at Rosehill on 16 May. He was an easing favourite that day, but he has the talent to cause an upset from barrier 2 in the Stradbroke Handicap field.

Stradbroke Handicap tips: Dawn Passage is a rising star and he can overcome his awkward barrier draw. Trekking is in form and the danger. Looking for a roughie, then Graff might be the horse.

Other races at Eagle Farm

Rough Habit Plate (race 6)

1. Ballistic Boy (trainer Chris Anderson)
He ran a bottler of a race when second behind Supergiant in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic and before that was a solid third behind the exciting Vanna Girl at Doomben. Ballistic Boy is a very honest horse who might get over the top of them with any sort of decent run from his wide gate. The dangers are Supergiant and Navy Cross as they will share the speed.

Alan Shuck BM58 Handicap (race 5)

4. Royal Witness (Trainers Toby and Trent Edmonds)
This gelding impressed in his first run for the stable when fourth at Eagle Farm on 23 May. He had no luck that day from a wide draw with 60kg on his back, but is in a better barrier this time. Will be better for the run.

Mick Dittman Plate (race 9)

7. Aquitaine (trainer James Cummings)
James Cummings didn’t hesitate to send Aquitaine to Queensland after her first-up second behind Fituese in the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes at Rosehill on 16 May. She’s a very honest filly who looks ideally placed here from barrier seven.

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