Queensland Oaks - 2200m, Eagle Farm R8
The Queensland Oaks often produces a handy filly that can go on to be competitive as an older mare. Winx will always be the standout, of course, but Duais is a more recent example, while the likes of Egg Tart, Youngstar and Eskimo Queen were also more than handy on their day.
This year sees three standout fillies at the top of the market, and a potentially long tail with the fourth favourite around $13 at the time of writing, and more than a handful at $81 or longer.
The Doomben Roses over 2000m is always the key lead-up, and it was taken out in fine style by Fireburn, breaking her Slipper curse in recording her first win since her two-year-old season.
The Gary Portelli-trained filly settled to the rear of the field in a race of solid pace, stuck to the inside when it came time to make her move, and only had to go around two horses in making her winning run. The question is going to be whether she can extend her brilliance to that extra 200m – plenty of horses over the years have looked good at the end of 2000m but not been able to go a yard further.
Renaissance Woman looked the winner at the 200m of The Roses, having enjoyed a beautiful run in transit, but was no match for Fireburn’s acceleration in the final stages. She looks to be a bit more dour than her key rival, might be better suited over extra ground, and has also drawn the most favourably of those in the betting.
The market suggests that anything else from that race is going to have a difficult task to turn the tables on the quinella, but Sakura Girl shouldn’t be overlooked.
She set a strong tempo in setting the race up for the swoopers, and she was the only on-pace runner left standing at the end, going down swinging by a length and a half into third. This horse did jump favourite in the New Zealand Oaks won by ATC Oaks winner Pennyweka, but went too hard in front, and she could spring a surprise.
The lightly-raced Cheval D’or also brings Kiwi form to the race, having won at 2100m over the ditch last time out. She was only a couple of lengths behind Sakura Girl at only her fourth race start, and is learning what it is all about each time.
Affaire A Suivre hits this race off three wins on the bounce, including the Australasian Oaks last start. That Oaks is run at 2000m rather than 2200m, so she only has to find an extra furlong, but the Adelaide form didn’t stand up in the Derby last week. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will of course have her perfectly prepared.
Some main fancies have drawn wide here, which will add complexity to the race, and some hard decisions will need to be made early by the jockeys on board.
Selections: 1.Sakura Girl 2.Renaissance Woman 3.Fireburn 4.Affaire A Suivre
* Odds Correct At Time Of Posting. Check Playup Website For Latest Odds