A final field of 17 three-year-old fillies have been accepted for the $550,000 Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick’s Doncaster Mile Day on Saturday, Shamrocker the pronounced favourite to win the esteemed 100th edition of the autumn classic.
Danny O’Brien’s in-form O’Reilly filly Shamrocker has opened at the top of the AJC Oaks odds paying $2.70 to back up from her impressive victory in last Saturday’s Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) with another elite level win.
Having defeated the boys in both the Australian Guineas and Derby this season, Shamrocker is expected to thrive against the all-female field on Saturday and become the first filly in over two decades to claim the Australian Derby / Oaks double.
The last filly to complete the Classic double was the Clarry Conners-trained Research back in 1989.
Shamrocker enjoyed the ideal barrier four draw for the Oaks on Saturday and will again be ridden by champion hoop Glen Boss.
Danny O’Brien will also be represented in the Australian Oaks field on Saturday by Savabeel filly Placement, drawn in barrier 11 and currently a $51 roughie in the markets.
Second favourite in the betting for the AJC Oaks is last season’s Crown Oaks winner Brazilian Pulse.
Sitting at around $4.20 to score an upset over the favourite, Brazilian Pulse also came up with an advantageous barrier drawn on the rails in gate one.
Brazilian Pulse is out to claim a unique feat of her own and become the first filly in 16 years to take out the VRC Crown Oaks / AJC Oaks double.
Saturday will be the first time Brazilian Pulse faces off against Shamrocker since she defeated her by just under a length in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the spring.
Shamrocker has without doubt come on since then and the rematch will be a very interesting affair according to Brazilian Pulse’s trainer Michael Moroney.
“I suppose it franks our filly’s form,” Moroney said of Shamrocker winning the Derby.
“I know their camp are pretty confident their filly has improved from the spring, I think our filly has improved a bit too and it’s going to make for an interesting race on Saturday.”
This season Captain Rio filly Brazilian Pulse has had three starts including a win in the Group 3 Keith F Nolan Classic (1800m) at Rosehill on March 26 before her last-start third to upset winner Mirjulisa Lass in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on Golden Slipper Day.
On Tuesday morning Brazilian Pulse showed she was ready for the battle with a pleasing gallop at Randwick.
“Craig Williams came and worked her and he was happy with her,” Moroney said.
“He thought that her fitness levels were good, her action was great, he said she wanted to switch on and off in her work a bit but that’s her and the last part of her work was very good.”
Craig Williams has ridden Brazilian Pulse for six of her nine career starts including the Crown Oaks win and all three runs this prep.
“They are not the only two in it (the AJC Oaks) either,” Moroney said.
“The filly (Mirjulisa Lass) that won the Vinery Stud Stakes looks a good staying filly too, so it could be a strong version of the Oaks this year.”
Gregory Hickman’s Mirjulisa Lass has been accepted for the AJC Oaks, but is not fancied to claim a second surprise win sitting at around $13 in the markets after drawing the far outside barrier 17.
“I think what happens is the other fillies get a chance to mature up and pass some of those fillies in the autumn, and at their age six months makes a big difference,” Moroney said.
“You are always open for those sort of horses to join in which wouldn’t have been there in the spring and it looks like the one that has joined in this time is the filly that won the Vinery.”
Fibrillation is the only other AJC Oaks acceptor at single-figure odds after drawing well in gate eight.
The Tim Martin-trained daughter of Diatribe is coming off two second place finishes firstly to Brazilian Pulse in the Keith F Nolan and then to Mirjulisa Lass in the Vinery Stud.
Other notable fillies in the 2011 Patinack Farm AJC Oaks field with claims include the Peter Moody-trained Do Ra Mi, the progressive Greg Eurell-trained Pinker Pinker, Redoute’s Choice filly Absolutely coming off a last start second in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks at Morphettville and longer-priced outsider Crafty Irna who won the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Savabeel filly Do Ra Mi, drawn ideally in barrier two for the Oaks, enjoyed an upset win over Brazilian Pulse in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400) on March 12 before running fifth in the Vinery Stud Stakes last start.
The 2011 AJC Australian Oaks is set to run as Randwick Race 6 on Saturday jumping at 2:55pm (AEST) followed by the day’s marquee event, the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) where superstar More Joyous is tipped to win her sixth Group 1 victory.
2011 Patinack Farm 100th AJC Oaks Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||78302X4131||SHAMROCKER (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Glen Boss||4||56kg||111|
|2||112311X213||BRAZILIAN PULSE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Craig Williams||1||56kg||105|
|3||255X11215||DO RA MI (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2||56kg||95|
|4||11657X3114||PINKER PINKER||Greg Eurell||Dwayne Dunn||10||56kg||100|
|5||3351X15131||MIRJULISA LASS||Gregory Hickman||Corey Brown||17||56kg||99|
|6||45223X2260||PLACEMENT (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||–||11||56kg||78|
|7||168X3522||FIBRILLATION||Tim Martin||Damien Oliver||8||56kg||88|
|8||2040X42151||CRAFTY IRNA||Ron Quinton||Glyn Schofield||15||56kg||84|
|10||4116X57653||BECERRA||Lee Freedman||Jim Cassidy||12||56kg||83|
|11||113258X154||DATING (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||Hugh Bowman||9||56kg||90|
|12||0X8X751116||IRON LACE||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||13||56kg||74|
|13||X5444X1338||ROSE OF PEACE||Gary Portelli||Michael Rodd||6||56kg||72|
|14||1030X27665||BRIDE SALAMA||Anthony Cummings||Tim Clark||7||56kg||68|
|15||0X21100||LADY LONHRO||Diane Poidevin-Laine||–||16||56kg||62|
|16||3752701||AVARELLI (NZ)||Guy Walter||–||5||56kg||59|
|17||0X0259||DREAMWORKER||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||14||56kg||60|