The Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi returned to her best to score a dominant win in the $2 million Group I Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The four-year-old mare was the beaten favourite in the race 12 months ago when third and since Stradbroke betting opened was one of the favoured runners.
After winning the Group II Victory Stakes first-up at the Gold Coast on April 25 Srikandi lost her way, finishing unplaced in the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 and punters lost patience sending the daughter of Dubawi out a $12 chance in Queensland’s biggest race.
“She had a couple of little issues, missed the start (in the BTC Cup), she was a bit stiff after that,” Maher told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“Last start I thought she was a bit big and could improve off it.”
Maher said Srikandi’s work on Tuesday confirmed she was back on track and racing in a new set of red silks with a black disc and cap for the first time, she rolled forward in the early stages of the race to hold the rail, three-quarters of a length back from the leader Hot Snitzel.
Srikandi strode up to eyeball Hot Snitzel entering the straight and passing the 200 metres she beat him off, striding clear to record a soft 1-3/4 length win.
“She had a dream run and travelled really well,” winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy said.
“The ground’s just been breaking up all day and I reckon it actually suited her, just a little bit on the soft side.
“I’m very lucky to be here today. Obviously the weights didn’t go up and (Damian) Brownie and the boys couldn’t do the weight.
“Really honoured and thrilled to win the biggest race in Queensland – the Stradbroke.”
Doomben 10,000 winner Boban ($16) came from worse than midfield to finish a courageous second under his topweight of 58kg while Godolphin galloper Generalife ($12) circled the field and was doing his best work late to grab third, a long head back from the runner-up.
The $6 equal favourites, Charlie Boy and Lumosty finished down the track after having no luck in running. Lumosty was posted wide throughout before dropping out to finish 10th while Charlie Boy was blocked for a run at the top of the straight and only battled into 14th place.
Srikandi has now won eight of her 12 starts and Saturday’s victory took her earnings to more than $1.8 million.