The Group 1 Queensland Oaks will be run this Saturday, with a fantastic line up of very smart fillies chasing a share of the $500K on offer. The race takes on a different complexion this year, with the redevelopment of Eagle Farm racecourse forcing the event to be changed from the traditional 2400m on the bigger track to the 2200m of the tighter turning Doomben racecourse.
The main lead up race to the Oaks has traditionally been The Roses, won in emphatic style this year by the smart filly Bohemian Lily, trained by Gai. Importantly though, only 2 fillies ( Ethereal and Scarlett Lady) since the inception of The Roses in 1996 have been able to complete the double. Drawn a horror barrier, expect this front running filly to push forward early and try to control the tempo under a supremely confident Blake Shinn.
The Group 1 Queensland Oaks is set to jump at 3:57pm (AEST). Check ou the full TAB.com.au market here.
The horse to beat is undoubtedly the brilliant filly Winx. She ticks all of the boxes, and has better form than all her rivals. A breathtaking last to first win in the Sunshine Coast Guineas, runner up in the ATC Oaks and strong performances earlier in her career, placing in the Flight Syskes behind First Seal and a close up 5th in the G1 Vinery. She was given an easy gallop on Tuesday along with stablemate Ballet Suite (also a strong winning hope after her Princess Stakes victory and some solid performances in top company in the Sydney autumn). If she can reproduce her last effort she should be winning. No query over the distance for her either, and she should get enough speed on to unleash her powerful finish in the straight.
Sebrina, from the Bjorn Baker stable, comes through a different lead up, having been scratched from her Qld assignment (bad barrier) to run in Sydney instead. Held up at a crucial stage in that race, she has come through the run well, and will have Hall of Fame jockey Glen Boss doing the steering.
The value in the race could come from Zarzali if you are playing exotics - she is a bit of a late bloomer, but might be coming in to her own at exactly the right time. A solid effort in the ATC Oaks convinced the Cummings stable to head north with her, justified by a lovely Oaks trial in the Princess stakes, when placed behind Ballet Suite. Hugh Bowman has also given this filly his tick of approval as an Oaks type. Tommy Berry jumps on her back, further enhancing her credentials.
Run at a true tempo, Winx does look a standout, but there looks to be value in quinellas and trifectas with Sebrina, Zarzali and perhaps the Robert Smerdon trained filly Ungrateful Ellen.
G3 - The Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase
G2 - Prix Raoul Balliere
G2 - Prix Ariste Hemard
G3 - Victress Stakes
G2 - Premier Trophy