Exhilarates set to stake Stradbroke claim

Exhilarates will be out to boost Godolphin's Stradbroke Handicap bid when she runs at Doomben

Godolphin will use a proven strategy with accomplished filly Exhilarates in anticipation she can add further depth to the stable's Stradbroke Handicap team.

Exhilarates is campaigning in Queensland, where she first made a name for herself, and returned to racing with a Gold Coast Guineas placing.

She will run in the Fred Best Classic on Saturday in a Doomben race for three-year-olds that earns the winner a ballot exemption for the Stradbroke at Eagle Farm a week later.

Exhilarates has 49.5kg in the Stradbroke for which her James Cummings-trained stablemate Trekking is favourite to win the race for the second year in a row.

While Cummings is quietly confident Exhilarates will scrape into the 18-horse Stradbroke field with her light weight, he does not want to leave anything to chance.

At the same time, a Fred Best start will allow the trainer to trigger a game plan that worked brilliantly for the filly during her two-year-old season.

"There is a good chance she will get in (the Stradbroke) but I'd like to run her in the Fred Best and make sure," Cummings said.

"And it would suit her because she thrives off a seven-day back-up.

"She's a tough, talented filly who's proved herself."

Exhilarates first came to prominence in winning the 2019 Magic Millions 2YO Classic, seven days after breaking through at her fourth start.

She has continued to race against the best of her generation, collecting a pair of stakes wins during last year's Melbourne spring carnival.

Trekking, in the absence of 2018 winner Santa Ana Lane, will be the Stradbroke topweight with 58kg.

A $6 favourite with most bookmakers, Trekking is aiming to become the second horse in a decade to win back-to-back Stradbrokes.

Exhilarates is a $26 chance.

Victorem has been a notable firmer in Stradbroke betting after getting his campaign back on course at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

He swept aside a field of Stradbroke hopefuls in winning the Victory Stakes and had his odds cut from $26 to $8 to share the second line of betting with Sydney colt Dawn Passage.

Dawn Passage, winner of the Hawkesbury Guineas and Inglis 3YO Guineas at his past two starts, is expected to clash with Exhilarates in the Fred Best.

He is well down in the Stradbroke order of entry and needs to win the 1300m race to push on to Eagle Farm.