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Queensland Oaks Preview – Kiwi filly to prove Shez Sinsational

June 4, 2011

The Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) may be run for the last time with its current conditions this weekend, with a possible move to 2000m and Doomben next year to cater for a new staying mares race.

A historic race, it has been a mixed bag in recent years.

Some great fillies like Arctic Scent, Ethereal, Zagalia and Eskimo Queen have won this race in the last 15 years, while we’ve also had winners like Vitesse Dane, Allow and Miss Keepsake.

This race is a favourite of Just Horse Racing writer Andrew Hawkins.

He has produced one of the best previews for what may be an interesting guide to the Cups and the Cox Plate, not to mention next week’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).

Here is the runner by runner preview:

1. Divorces – I keep looking at her form and I think, I should have her in the mix somewhere. I look at her pedigree, which is actually quite stout despite the fact she is sired by Domesday. But I just can’t have her. It could merely be the fact that she isn’t one of mine, I’ve never been a big fan (actually, that’s a lie, I thought she would be a Sires/Champagne horse as a two year old and she ran respectably in both). But still, sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct. And my gut instinct is that she won’t run 2400m. She was outsprinted by Scarlett Lady in the Doomben Roses, it was her class that got her as close as it did. The draw gives Kerrin McEvoy plenty of options, and she could settle handy and get a place. Still can’t see her winning though. Place best.

2. Hidden Kisses – lead owner Richard Pegum is on absolute fire at the moment. He has spring-bound horses My Kingdom of Fife and December Draw amongst his stocks. Can this filly join them? There are a few interesting factors here. One, she clearly loves Eagle Farm – she’s had five starts for two wins, one second and one third. Her only “failure” was when fifth on a wet track. Two, she is no wet tracker. On form, she may look like she isn’t the classiest of animals but I think that her class has got her as close as it has on these wet tracks. She’s won one on a slow track, the rest have been flops – but in alright races. The reason I think she won on a slow track first up is that she flies fresh. Now, there’s nothing in her pedigree to suggest she’ll go close to running 2400m. If it stays dry though, she might be a rough place chance, given that she seems to perform best at Eagle Farm. Not for me though.

3. Fibrillation – the ghostly grey from Sydney, who races in the colours of her sire Diatribe. She ran two cracking races in the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes over 2000m (2nd) and the Group 1 AJC Oaks over 2400m (4th). She has been up for a long time though. Until last start, she had only won the one race and that was on a heavy track. Last time, however, she won on a dead track, coming with a big run from the tail of the field to beat the older horses. I’d suggest she was unsuited at the weights too. Likely to be suited by the weight and the fast pace. I just want to see her at 2400m again, having watched the AJC Oaks again. She was fading late, so I’m not sure, she might be more a 2000m horse – granted though, the 2400m on that heavy a track would have felt like a 3200m slog. Chance.

4. Scarlett Lady – a dominant winner of the Doomben Roses after she came across the Tasman with good form, including a win against the older mares in the Travis Stakes (2000m). She has not been beaten since New Year’s Day. Graeme Rogerson is already saying that he has a meeting on Monday in Auckland with her owner Max Whitby to map out a path to the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. For them to be looking that far ahead, there must be some serious confidence about her chances tomorrow. Based on her career to date, you’d be mad if you didn’t have her in the mix somewhere. I reckon she should be in the money somewhere. I’ll be on the other Kiwi though, but I’m scared about Scarlett Lady.

5. Fillydelphia – had a rather unusual preparation for this race, taking on the boys. She was dominant in the Rough Habit, whereas she plugged away last week in the Grand Prix. I’m going to put something weird out there though – since the weird incident last year where she lost the rider, I’d almost say she hasn’t fired at Eagle Farm – it is as though the memories come back. Not sure, could be reading too much into it but it’s an interesting thought. On her Rough Habit run she’d be a good chance but she’s been too inconsistent this campaign. Place chance at best.

6. In A Tangle – plugged away in the Doomben Roses after a cracking second in the Gold Coast Bracelet. Not sure what to make of her form but I know one thing – her pedigree suggests she’ll be struggling a long way out tomorrow. Based on that alone, there is no way I’m including her in my selections.

7. Becerra – Melbourne filly who has been around the mark in a number of fillies races up and down the eastern seaboard. She ran a great race a couple of weeks ago in the Doomben Roses, which followed up on a good effort in the Adrian Knox Stakes at Randwick. She has been crying out for 2400m, and I’m surprised she didn’t run in the Group 1 AJC Oaks (2400m). I doubt she could win, but she’s definitely not the roughest. She could easily settle handy to the pace from the fantastic gate (3) and stick on at the end. Place chance.

8. Savannah’s Choice – well bred filly who should stay this trip. She kept fighting on in the Doomben Roses, and fought on well to hold second in front of Divorces. I think she’ll definitely be in front at some point in the straight, but will it be at the finishing post? Seeing as she’s only been in front at the judge one time out of twelve starts, I’d be very hesitant to back her. And looking at her record before the Roses run, I get even more lukewarm. Rough place chance only.

9. Driving Reign – comes through the provincials. She’s never been too far away in her races, despite her unappealing record. Still, she always manages to find a few better. Given that, I think I’ll be skipping over her.

10. I Walk The Line – good runs in the Carr Stakes and the Gold Coast Bracelet before disappointing last time out. Looking at her stats, she does need some give in the ground, and a dead track should suit. If you had asked me in mid April who I would have backed for this race, it would probably have been this filly. But I have my doubts now – I’m not sure she’ll stay 2400m and I’m not sure she’s good enough. Place chance.

11. Tropicana Girl – a dominant win at Canterbury last Wednesday confirmed a start in this race. Her form, although in restricted races, is actually quite good – for restricted races anyway. Look, I probably couldn’t back her but I could see her running top six or top seven quite easily. Not the worst at all.

12. Heidilicious – you have to love a lightly raced Zabeel filly. She’s been impressive at every start to date, especially so last start in the Doomben Roses. Looks to be one of only two you’d want to back from the race. She’ll have no trouble at 2400m, and Eagle Farm will suit a lot more than Doomben. The main query is the gate. Where does she get to from barrier 15? She’s going to have to get a long way back, and I’m not sure they’ll burn along here. There’s no doubt she has to be among selections, but the thing that prevents me from having her on top is the draw. Still, has to rate as a huge threat. Can’t wait to see her in the spring though.

13. Shez Sinsational – highly rated Kiwi filly. All the best Kiwi judges, or those I respect anyway, rate her higher than Scarlett Lady. Big win two starts ago, defeating Nom Du Jeu’s half sister Jeu De Cartes by six lengths. Jeu De Cartes is thought of as quite promising, it was some win. The wet track dulled her sprint last start, and she was beaten by a nose by The Raconteur – who I believe is nowhere near her class. There was an eleven length gap to third. She is sensational, and I think she’ll prove it tomorrow. I got on early and even earlier this week you could still get $11. It will look value tomorrow, I believe. Go girl. Top chance.

14. Crafty Lady – one of the better bred fillies in the race, being by Starcraft out of Thousand Guineas winner Macedon Lady. This is only Sheila Laxon’s second runner in the Oaks – her first was Ethereal, who produced one of the most incredible runs I have ever seen in a Group 1 to get up right on the line. It may have been a sign of things to come, with Ethereal going on to win a Caulfield and Melbourne Cup later that year. Crafty Lady doesn’t have the turn of foot of Ethereal, but there’s no doubt she could be a great roughie. She should stay the trip and she comes out of a great form race at Ipswich behind Mr Light Blue. Best roughie in the race, and probably the one at 40-1 that wouldn’t shock me if she won.

15. Nayana – failed on the heavy going last start when beaten a long way by Three Red Roses at the Gold Coast. Before that, she’d shown some promise in the NSW provincials. Can’t see her winning, and she’s only an extremely rough place hope. Not for mine.

16. Black Sparta – rather dour filly who should stay the trip. But I’m really not sure about her against some of these other horses. She’ll probably stick on and finish midfield, but as for her place prospects, I couldn’t have her.

17. Jahre – nicely bred filly but she was beaten 8L by Palasport over 2500m last start. If she wins here…well, let’s just say, the Queensland Oaks will deserve any downgrade to Group 2 level. No way.

SUMMARY – I love the Queensland Oaks every year. Who knows, we might see the next Ethereal tomorrow (we could also see the next Miss Keepsake, so it may not be good). I really do like SHEZ SINSATIONAL for this. She’s been set for the race and I rate the opposition she has beaten. Hope she can get there. Best value is CRAFTY LADY. She has a Qld Oaks winning trainer in her corner and she comes from a good race (albeit at the provincials). Could be the surprise packet. SCARLETT LADY and HEIDILICIOUS deserve their places in the market, and look sure to produce a big run. Next best are FIBRILLATION and TROPICANA GIRL.


13 – Shez Sinsational
14 – Crafty Lady
4 – Scarlett Lady
12 – Heidilicious

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