This Saturday the ladies will take centre stage at Eagle Farm, the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival continuing with Queensland Oaks Day and 17 smart three-year-old fillies have been accepted for the day’s feature race.
A bumper eight-race programme is scheduled at Eagle Farm for Saturday, the card headlined by the classic $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
Seventeen fillies were paid up for at acceptance stage on Wednesday morning, including sensational favourite Scarlett Lady.
The Graeme Rogerson-trained Savabeel filly from New Zealand, Scarlett Lady has dominated Oaks betting since her blistering win in the Group 3 The Roses (2020m) at Doomben a fortnight ago.
The Roses was Scarlett Lady’s first-up run on Australian shores, and the victory has her vying for a sixth straight turf triumph on Saturday.
Drawn in barrier nine for the Oaks and due to be ridden by ace apprentice hoop James McDonald, Scarlett Lady is also looking to equal the feat of another champion Kiwi – Ethereal.
A decade ago, the Shelia Laxon-trained Ethereal travelled across the Tasman and took out The Roses – Queensland Oaks double before her later spring success with incredible wins in a trio of our best races taking out the 2001 Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup and The BMW.
Although all the rage this year is for Scarlett Lady, the first female Melbourne Cup winning trainer in history, Laxon is also back in Brisbane and holds high hopes for her Queensland Oaks contender Crafty Lady.
Co-trained by Laxon and her partner John Symons, well-bred Starcraft filly Crafty Lady has flown under the radar heading into this year’s Oaks despite all the talk of Ethereal.
Laxon has spent the past 10 years searching for another Oaks aspirant without success, so she is understandably excited to saddle up Crafty Lady, who was purchased for $22,000 at the Sydney Easter Yearling Sales.
“We’ve always had high hopes about her over ground, and that’s what she’ll get on Saturday,” Laxon said.
Having run 11 times to date for two wins and four minor placings, Crafty Lady is yet to race in a black-type but Laxon is confident she will rise to the occasion and be competitive in her elite level assignment this weekend.
Most recently Crafty Lady finished second to Mr Light Blue, the subsequent third placegetter in last Saturday’s Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes, in a 2150m open handicap at Ipswich and must show big improvement with the steep step up in class for the Oaks.
“She’s got to learn to settle a little more in her races, but she’s improving, and John (Symons) said he couldn’t be more pleased with how she’s going,” Laxon said.
With the unavoidable comparison between Scarlett Lady and Ethereal, Crafty Lady is not without her link to the mighty mare as well.
For her outstanding Group 1 winning spree 10 years ago, Ethereal was partnered by wizard jockey Scott Seamer.
Seamer is now engaged for the Queensland Oaks mount on Crafty Lady this weekend, the pair due to jump from barrier five.
The formerly New Zealand-based Laxon now resides and trains in Victoria with Symons and expressed just how much it would mean for Craft Lady to secure an Oaks upset on Saturday.
“With a win like that under your belt, you can plan where you want to go, and who knows where (Crafty Lady) could end up if she can get a score like that on the board.”
2011 Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks Final Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1080X32413||DIVORCES||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||8||55.5kg||93|
|2||X6568X1267||HIDDEN KISSES||Robert Heathcote||Larry Cassidy||4||55.5kg||–|
|4||4224X11111||SCARLETT LADY (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||James McDonald (a)||9||55.5kg||94|
|5||1L16X40014||FILLYDELPHIA||Robert Heathcote||Luke Nolen||11||55.5kg||88|
|6||063X810820||IN A TANGLE||Bryan Guy||Corey Brown||1||55.5kg||74|
|7||16X5765304||BECERRA||Lee Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||3||55.5kg||79|
|8||4X23267222||SAVANNAH’S CHOICE||Chris Waller||–||10||55.5kg||–|
|9||6811X00005||DRIVING REIGN||Harry Reed||Brad Stewart||14||55.5kg||66|
|10||52511X0448||I WALK THE LINE||Patrick & Wayne Webster||Glen Colless||7||55.5kg||73|
|11||1526X52541||TROPICANA GIRL||Chris Waller||–||16||55.5kg||68|
|12||31X216||HEIDILICIOUS (NZ)||John Sadler||James Winks||15||55.5kg||70|
|13||11624112||SHEZ SINSATIONAL (NZ)||Allan Sharrock||Opie Bosson||2||55.5kg||82|
|14||487136X232||CRAFTY LADY||John Symons & Sheila Laxon||Scott Seamer||5||55.5kg||69|
|16||07943X2142||BLACK SPARTA||Paul Murray||–||17||55.5kg||63|
|17||8X98X53156||JAHRE||Anthony Cummings||Jim Byrne||13||55.5kg||61|