Wealth Princess needs miracle to gain Stradbroke start
Connections of Wealth Princess will need a miracle for the boom Kiwi mare to gain a start in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Wealth Princess, who will start in the Group Two Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday, was among 38 first acceptors declared on Wednesday for the $1 million Stradbroke on Saturday week.
She will need to win convincingly against her own sex in the Dane Ripper and rely on a penalty from Queensland Racing handicappers to have any hope of being lifted in the the pecking order for the Stradbroke.
A total of 26 horses also remained in Saturday week’s Group One TJ Smith (1600m) when first acceptances closed on Wednesday while the Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) on the same day attracted 34 first acceptors.
Wealth Princess, who has been labelled one of the best mares to come out of New Zealand since Sunline, is currently 35th in order of entry for the Stradbroke.
Wealth Princess is trained by Brent Gillovic but will be transferred to Melbourne’s Lee Freedman at the culmination of her Brisbane winter campaign in the Group One Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 26.
She came to Australia with the Sunline wraps but made a horror debut when narrowly beaten on a rain-affected track at Caloundra on May 9.
However, Wealth Princess made a mockery of that form with a runaway win in the Group Three Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on May 22.
The win earned her a half-kilogram ballot allowance but she remains on 51 kilograms for the Stradbroke.
Wealth Princess was recently sold by her former Hong Kong owner Victor Ngai to Australian clients of Freedman who include Melbourne businessman Sean Buckley.
Buckley, who raced former top gallopers Miss Andretti and Dane Julia, is restricted in revealing the mare’s purchase price.
“We’ve signed a declaration not to reveal the price but Victor will get a bonus if she wins a Group One race,” Buckley said.
“I’ve paid up for her to run in the Stradbroke but she’ll need to win the Dane Ripper and earn a penalty to hopefully get a start.
“Our original plan was always the Stradbroke but she didn’t travel well when she first arrived from New Zealand.
“She spent four hours in the plane circling Brisbane airport before she landed so we had to run her at the Sunshine Coast on a wet track.”
Buckley said Gillovic told him Wealth Princess was still only 85 per cent fit when she trounced her opposition in the Glenlogan Park Stakes.
His friendship with former Kiwi rider Michael Walker has led to the now Brisbane-based hoop riding Wealth Princess throughout her winter campaign.
“Michael and I have been good mates ever since he won a Group One for me on Dane Julia in the Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha last year,” Buckley said.
He indicated the Group One Myer Classic and Group One Emirates Stakes, both at Flemington, would likely be Wealth Princess’s spring goals.
By Glenn Davis