A little over six months ago New Zealand filly Kirramosa stepped out for the first time at Matamata to win a modest maiden for two-year-olds.
In what has been a meteoric rise, the filly will start the highly-spruiked favourite in the VRC Crown Oaks at Flemington this Thursday.
Kirramosa's Kiwi-trainer John Sargent knows how to spot a potential Oaks filly – the horseman travelled Quintessential across the ditch last year to win the Queensland Oaks and place in the Queensland Derby.
Kirramosa has been crunched into favouritism for the Oaks after a brilliant come from behind win in Saturday's traditional Oaks lead-up, the Wakeful Stakes.
Saturday's victory was certainly no surprise. Previously she ran a desperately close 2nd at Randwick behind Best Case which also performed well at Flemington on Derby day.
Tab.com.au was content to keep Kirramosa at $3.40 even after drawing the outside gate for Thursday's classic.
Here is my assessment of the other nine fillies that will contest the Oaks on Thursday:
1. May's Dream ($4.80) was favourite for the Oaks prior to her defeat in the Wakeful. This filly is bred to stay the 2500 metres. Her dam She's Archie ran a brave 2nd to Makybe Diva in the 2003 Melbourne Cup.
May's Dream ran second to superstar filly Guelph in the Thousand Guineas in October and should be fitter following the Wakeful run. She can easily bounce back on Thursday.
2. Arabian Gold ($15.00) ran 4th in Saturday's Wakeful but won the Ethereal Stakes at Caulfield prior, running out the 2000 metres strongly. She has drawn the inside gate and will be partnered by in-form jockey Hugh Bowman who is attempting to complete the Derby-Oaks double.
4. Gypsy Diamond's ($8.50) best run this preparation has been her win at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate eve. That win over 1600 metres is well short of the Oaks distance but she has since battled on well in the Wakeful.
5. Solicit ($9.00) is one of the most consistent three-year-old fillies in the race. She has been placed in the Manifold, Ethereal and Wakeful Stakes this preparation and should be given every chance by Glen Boss from barrier four.
6. Quayside ($17.00) is bred to stay and comes off a last start win at Rosehill over 1900 metres. Her dam is Quays, a handy filly that won the Wakeful Stakes and was placed in a Queensland Oaks and Doomben Roses.
7. Every Faith ($51.00) has only won a maiden at Seymour in September and hasn't accomplished a great deal since. She will need to improve considerably on her eighth in the Wakeful.
8. Zanbagh ($4.40) did not contest the Wakeful on Saturday and brings a different form line to the Oaks.
She has won her last two races at Ballarat including a 2000 metre win the last time she stepped out. Guy Walter is a master trainer of fillies and has been very patient with Zanbagh, a daughter of AJC Oaks winner Wild Iris. Although considerably up in class she looks a leading chance.
9. Melaleuca ($17.00) was racing well prior to finishing 10th in the Wakeful. Her previous form included a respectable 4th in the Ethereal Stakes but perhaps a rain affected track might be her best chance of success.
10. Tear Gas ($31.00) is the most inexperienced galloper in the Oaks with only four career starts. Her best result so far has been winning a Kyneton maiden over 1850 metres and she looks tested in Group One class.
It's been a strong start to the VRC's Spring carnival and we still have two great meetings to go.
Don't forget to join myself and the team on Racing Retro for a comprehensive review of Cup week this Sunday morning at 8:30am Australian Eastern Daylight time. I hope you can tune in!
G1 - The Bet365 Celebration Steeple Chase (class 1)
G3 - The Bet365 Gold Cup Steeple Chase (handicap) (class 1)
G1 - Aes Champion 4yo Hdle
Grade B - Setanta Sport H'cap Hdle
Grade B - Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe H'cap Chase