TAB Stradbroke Handicap: Glen Boss likes his chances on The Harrovian

The Queensland connection runs deep with The Harrovian and legendary jockey Glen Boss in Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap.

Boss is the prodigal son who has returned home to win the state’s greatest race and The Harrovian is the country cups champion who reeled off an incredible winning streak that saw him become one of the Australia’s most-followed horses.

Mixed in with the fact he is owned by colourful North Queensland property tycoon Tom Hedley, The Harrovian is as Queensland as XXXX Gold or Bundaberg Rum.

Throw in his imposing record and attractive weighting in the time-honoured handicap, Boss said it was impossible not to be drawn to the story of “Big H.”

“To be honest, the Queensland connection is one of the things that swayed me,” Boss said.

“He is a well-performed older horse and I am pretty confident he has beaten the handicapper.”

Brad Stewart rides The Harrovian to victory at Doomben. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:The Courier-Mail

Famous for his seven Doncaster Mile victories, Boss revealed he has approached this year’s Stradbroke in a similar fashion to that of its Sydney counterpart.

“When you are going through the list of horses, you go ‘OK, let’s find the top five that have beat the handicapper’,” he said.

“Then you zero in on them and see how their form is, that is what I do for the Doncaster. “Inevitably, they are the horses that run in the top three, you look back and there is always a horse that has beaten the handicapper in the results.”

Hedley – who also owns a number of pubs around the Cairns region – picked up The Harrovian for just $20,000 after 14 runs for Victorian trainer Jim Conlan where he had a modest record with three wins next to his name.

Overcoming a serious bout of travel sickness which almost killed him, The Harrovian went on to win The Townsville and Cairns Cups along with the Cairns Amateur Cup in 2019.

At the same time – while also being represented by around 50 horses in his famous bright orange colours in North Queensland – Hedley had Tyzone racing in Southeast Queensland who ran second in the 2019 Stradbroke before winning it 12 months later.

Boss compares The Harrovian to a veteran footballer who knows when to show up on game day.

The Harrovian with Gold Coast stablehand Trae Morris. Picture: Nigel HallettSource:News Corp Australia

“He is the most nonplussed horse, his track work is horrible which I actually like because they know how to turn it on race day,” he said.

“He is a bit like those good footballers, they don’t put in on the training track but when the mouth guard goes in and it’s game day, they’re there to play.”

With his only win in the race coming in 2003 aboard Private Steer, Boss says he has one of his best chances yet to add to the collection.

“The Stradbroke is the one race you really want to win, it is our flagship race and it will always be our flagship race so you are trying to find a nice one for it a while out,” he said.

“I haven’t had too many good rides in the race apart from the favourite (Srikandi, 2014) I rode for Ciaron Maher a few years back.

“I know the history of the horse and he is by a stallion that I rode – Fastnet Rock so there is a strong connection.”

While Hedley was forced to watch Tyzone’s breakthrough win at his Red Beret pub 12 months ago, there is a 40-strong team headed to Brisbane to cheer on The Harrovian on Saturday.

For a race that has so often been pinched by southern interests, a win by The Harrovian would be one for Queensland.

Originally published asBoss talks up Harrovian’s chances in Stradbroke

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