New Plymouth-based trainer Alan Sharrock knows New Zealand filly Scarlett Lady will be hard to beat in the Queensland Oaks this weekend, but he will be happy with second for his smart filly Shez Sinsational to see a Kiwi quinella in the classic.
The Graeme Rogerson-trained Savabeel filly Scarlett Lady is the pronounced favourite to win the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm this weekend, the star three-year-old having won her last five on the trot including a scintillating last-start success in the Group 3 The Roses (2020m) at Doomben.
A little further down the pre-field Oaks markets is fellow New Zealand-trained Ekraar filly Shez Sinsational.
Sharrock’s emerging girl has started eight times for four wins and two minor placings to date.
After back-to-back victories over 1600m and 2000m respectively in April, most recently Shez Sinsational was beaten in the final stride when a nose away second to The Raconteur on May 14.
It was a brave effort on a Heavy track at Pukekura, Shez Sinsational beating home the third placegetter in that race by 11 lengths.
On Saturday Shez Sinsational will have her first start on Australian shores and following her strong form at home, is currently rated a $10 shot for Oaks glory.
It will also be the first time Shez Sinsational faces off against the impressive Scarlett Lady, and although Sharrock knows the favourite is deservedly so, he is convinced his runner will bring some stiff competition in the Oaks.
“Both fillies won over 2000 metres at Te Rapa at the end of April and the difference in the overall time was just over a tenth of a second,” Sharrock said.
“My filly (Shez Sinsational) carried 57.5kg and Scarlett Lady carried 54kg.
“So I think we can get some sort of a guide that Shez Sinsational is somewhere up there with Scarlett Lady.
“And I was pretty happy then to see Scarlett Lady come over and beat quite a few Oaks fillies in the Roses.
“They could easily be one-two in the Oaks.”
Sharrock is also happy with Shez Sinsational since her last start and said she travelled across the Tasman well, settling into her new surroundings in Brisbane without issue.
“She galloped over 1600 metres with a mate on Saturday morning and did it well,” he said.
“She’s eating everything here and I’m happy with where she is coming into the Oaks.
“I’m a believer New Zealand horses usually put in their best effort in their first run after landing in Australia.”
Other Queensland Oaks hopefuls that will be out to beat the Kiwis include John Sadler’s Zabeel filly Heidilicious, the Tim Martin-trained Group 1 runner-up Fibrillation, Peter Snowden’s multiple Group placegetter Divorces and the locally-trained Fillydelphia from the stables of Robert Heathcote.
The final field for Saturday’s showdown will be released on Wednesday.