Sacred Star gets Bell's Stradbroke nod

Tim Bell and Tinto win the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Picture: TERTIUS PICKARD

Tim Bell and Tinto win the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Picture: TERTIUS PICKARD

Salute: Tim Bell and Tinto winning the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Picture: TERTIUS PICKARD

Salute: Tim Bell and Tinto winning the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday. Picture: TERTIUS PICKARD

HORSE RACING

Jockey of the moment Tim Bell has chosen Sacred Star as his Stradbroke Handicap mount, with Damien Oliver to ride River Lad.

Bell, who claimed his first Group 1 win on Tinto in Saturday's Queensland Oaks and rode two Group 2 winners, including Sacred Star, said it was a difficult decision.

He said he believed Sacred Star had the right profile and weight (52.5kg) to win a Stradbroke.

The New Zealand four-year-old, trained by Tony Pike for Raffles Racing, confirmed a start in Saturday's $1.38 million Stradbroke (1400m) with his win in the QTC Cup.

"The 1400 metres will suit him and we came for the Stradbroke so that is where we will be going," Pike said.

The Natalie McCall-trained River Lad goes to the race as the last-start winner of the Group 3 BRC Sprint.

Tommy Berry will return from Hong Kong to ride second favourite Rebel Dane, replacing Glen Boss, who has opted for leading hope Srikandi.

Srikandi has blossomed in Brisbane, winning three stakes races and her connections have taken the gamble to pay about $46,000 to put her in the race in which she carries 51kg.

Trainer Gary Portelli was quick to secure Berry with whom he has had a long association.

"He's ridden the horse in trackwork before," Portelli said. "Anyone that can go overseas and dominate the way he has, shows how much maturity he has.

"As a kid Tommy used to run around the streets with his pushbike and tell me he wanted to be apprenticed to me when he grew up.

"To get to a Group 1 race where you've got a great chance in it and to have a jockey that's riding so well is a plus."

Portelli has moved on from Rebel Dane's fourth in the Doomben 10,000 and says the horse has done well since and should be suited by Eagle Farm.

"The day after the 10,000 I could have raced him again, he was that well," he said.

Meanwhile, super sprinter Lankan Rupee will return to trainer Mick Price's stable on Monday to begin preparing for the spring.

Lankan Rupee was unbeaten during his four-start autumn campaign which began with victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes.

His dominance in the three Group 1 races he contested, the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes, elevated him to the top of the world's sprint rankings. AAP

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