Trainer Lee Freedman has had to withdraw his AJC Oaks contenders with Al Maher filly Becerra scratched from the Group 1 feature due to a minor bug while Mick Kent has decided to take his chances with Absolutely.
Freedman now has no runners in the $550,000 Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks (2400m), a race he won back in 2006 with Serenade Rose.
Becerra, who last ran a brave third behind Crafty Irna in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m), was drawn in barrier 12 and rated a $26 chance but will miss the race after she was found to be suffering from a slight cough.
Her scratching means that Iron Lace, Dreamworker, Crafty Irna, Lady Lonhro and Mirjulisa Lass will all move in one gate at Randwick tomorrow.
Meanwhile Redoute’s Choice filly Absolutely remains firmly in Oaks contention after her Cranbourne-based trainer Mick Kent confirmed he would give her a shot at Group 1 glory and of finally breaking her maiden status.
With the Oaks field looking one of the deepest in years, Kent was considering running Absolutely in the less-testing Riding For The Disabled Plate (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday instead.
However, having shown promising form this prep Kent has decided to test her at the top grade at Randwick tomorrow, her performance in which could lead to a campaign in Brisbane next month.
“She’s a professional filly so I don’t think the 2000m at Flemington or 2400m at Randwick would bother her,” Kent said.
Last start Absolutely was three lengths away second to Lights Of Heaven in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2008m) at Morphettville after jumping from the extreme outside barrier 15.
“She ran on well in Adelaide and travelled back and done really well since,” Kent said.
Absolutely has come up with a far more advantageous alley for the AJC Oaks, set to start from gate three with Brad Rawiller aboard.
Rated a $16 chance of upsetting Oaks favourite Shamrocker, Absolutely arrived safely in Sydney this morning.
Rawiller is reportedly rapt with Absolutely’s recent runs and expects his mount to finish strongly in the Oaks.
“She’s a light filly and still immature but I’d love to just win a race with her before she goes out,” Kent said.