Leading Sydney trainer Peter Snowden is confident of scoring back-to-back elite levels in Brisbane, backing his filly Divorces to claim a Queensland Oaks upset just seven days after his ultra consistent mare Beaded won the Doomben 10,000.
Beaded finally broke her Group 1 duck last Saturday, narrowly defeating a crack field in the Doomben 10,000 and now Snowden is turning his attention to Eagle Farm for the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) this Saturday.
The fillies’ classic is shaping up as the toughest in years, with gun Kiwi runner Scarlett Lady the dominant favourite to become this year’s Queensland Oaks winner after her sharp victory in the Group 3 The Roses (2020m) at Doomben on May 21.
Prior to Scarlett Lady’s brilliant Australian debut in The Roses, Snowden’s Domesday filly Divorces held Oaks’ favouritism.
First-up in Queensland on May 7, Divorces easily accounted for her rivals winning the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) by two and a half lengths.
The victory, the second of her career, came after three strong runs earlier in the year when Divorces ran third to Do Ra Mi in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 12, second to Needs Further in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 9 and then fourth to Sworn To Secrecy in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) on April 23.
After the Gold Coast win, Divorces most recently ran third beaten a length by Scarlett Lady in The Roses.
This placing saw Divorces’ price drift out to $7.50 in the Queensland Oaks odds.
While Snowden has a stranglehold over Saturday’s $250,000 Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) with his dynamic duo of two-year-olds Benfica and Free Wheeling, Darley’s top trainer also believes Divorces will turn the tables on Scarlett Lady and win the Oaks.
“I’m really happy with her, she looks in great order,” Snowden said.
“Her work was nice this morning (Tuesday) and she has not gone backwards and she has held her condition really well.
“She has settled better in her work now and that will certainly help come Saturday.”
With the Queensland Oaks final field and barriers due out on Wednesday morning, jockey Hugh Bowman is already booked for the ride on Divorces having partnered with her for her two most recent runs.
“Hughie is quite adamant that if you ride her quietly she will have every chance of getting the trip,” Snowden said of Divorces who will have her first start over 2400m on Saturday.
“At the Gold Coast she was back second and third last and really switched off and then showed a good turn of foot.”
It is this back-riding tactic that Snowden is hoping to see again for the Oaks.
“In Brisbane at her last start she raced close to the speed and she was not in the running long and she had a horse that was two and three lengths ahead of her, and she just got into the chew the whole race, and she did not relax,” he said.
“It does not matter where she draws it matters over the first 200m just to get her back.
“She does not have to be last, but mid-field or worse, but to just really switch her off and put her to sleep, and produce her late.”