The Courier-Mail

FRONT RUNNER

- NATHAN EXELBY

MARKET assessors reacted swiftly to Gai Waterhouse’s bombshell scratching of Najoom yesterday, elevating Lumosty to the top of betting charts on the assumption she will now secure a run.

All the planets were aligning for trainer Robert Smerdon yesterday, with the Najoom scratching followed by confirmati­on from Joe Pride that Kuro and Ball Of Muscle will not run in the Stradbroke.

Chris Waller has listed Catkins and Strawberry Boy as very unlikely to run, meaning Lumosty only needs one other withdrawal to make the field.

Connection­s of Lumosty still have to sweat on a start with Robbie Laing declaring Lord of the Sky may still run even on a dry track and Trent Bussuttin yet to make a call on a start for El Roca after disappoint­ing in the QTC Cup on Saturday.

If both of those came out, it would pave the way for Pride’s Rock Sturdy to also gain a run. Bring Me The Maid would then become first emergency if Peter Moody chooses to pay up, with her other option being the Dane Ripper Stakes.

Just last Wednesday, a $30,000 late entry was lodged for Najoom to take her place in the Stradbroke.

Trevor Lobb, racing manager for owner His Excellency Nasser Lootah, was disappoint­ed with the news but accepted it as “part of racing”.

“Gai wasn’t happy with her work on Saturday morning and felt she wasn’t ready for this race,” Lobb said.

Stewards lodged official notificati­on of Najoom’s Stradbroke exit yesterday, stating Waterhouse had informed them “Najoom had not fully recovered from the injury she sustained last Sunday”.

Sportsbet, UBET and tab.com.au all wound Lumos- ty into $5 upon confirmati­on of the non-runners yesterday.

The daughter of Fastnet Rock opened at $71 with UBET and the race only came on the radar after she produced a devastatin­g sprint to win first-up at Flemington. Her win in the Straight Six at the same venue last Saturday elevated her to 31st on the order of entry, likely high enough to make the field.

Singapore-based Corey Brown won the race to ride Lumosty in the Stradbroke, where she has just 50.5kg.

Smokin’ Joey is scheduled to fly to Brisbane on Wednesday morning. Chris Symons has been booked to ride.

Zac Purton is set to return from Hong Kong again to ride Sacred Star, who has improved significan­tly according to trainer Tony Pike following a strong gallop on Saturday morning.

Waller is left with Boban (Glyn Schofield) and the firming three-year-old Delectatio­n (Glen Boss) in his bid to win the Stradbroke for the first time.

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