This Saturday all eyes will be on the smart line-up of fillies in the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm, but earlier in the day another females-only showdown is shaping up as a ripper of a race.
The $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares has attracted a capacity field of 18 starters plus five emergencies and in an open affair there are a number of live-wire chances.
Serving as an ideal preparatory run for the end-of-month $500,000 Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m), many Dane Ripper runners have this elite level race as their major Brisbane Winter Carnival target including the current favourite Kanzan.
The in-form Peter Snowden-trained Commands four-year-old Kanzan is seeking her third black type win on the trot this Saturday.
After a sharp one and a quarter length victory in the Listed The Darley Crown (1300m) at Hawkesbury on April 30, Kanzan bought her good form to Brisbane to win the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on May 21.
Tomorrow she will get the inside running in the Dane Ripper from barrier one and sits at the top of the odds paying $5.50.
Darley’s go-to jockey Kerrin McEvoy is booked for the ride on Kanzan in the Dane Ripper Stakes and after suffering a bad bout of the flu this week, the hoop in confident they will be there in the saddle tomorrow and is also bullish over Kanzan’s chances.
“She has drawn one and is coming off a good last-start win,” McEvoy said.
“She is just a very genuine, honest mare.
“She has a good turn of foot and tries her hardest all the time.
“She’s hardy, she loves her racing and is good to have around the stable.”
Another longer-priced contender with plenty of claims and an equally nice gate draw is the Matthew Smith-trained Hurtle Myrtle.
Four-year-old Dane Shadow mare Hurtle Myrtle sits as a $16 Dane Ripper shot and is due to be ridden by Brenton Avdulla from barrier four on Saturday.
The Warwick Farm-based galloper has had a season of mixed form.
After two disappointing unplaced runs at Listed level in Sydney earlier in the year, Hurtle Myrtle displayed her potential with a tidy win in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in April.
Last start she was far from disgraced when running less than two lengths away fifth behind Shannara in the Listed Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone on May 14.
Making her Queensland debut tomorrow, Hurtle Myrtle will be looking to return to her Group winning form from two starts back having made her first interstate trip on Thursday night.
“She hasn’t travelled much so it will be good for her to get up there and have a change of environment,” Matthew Smith said yesterday.
Smith was very happy with the barrier draw for Hurtle Myrtle and is praying the course proper at Eagle Farm kept its current Dead rating saying that surface would be ideal for his horse.
“I think definitely the key to her is a bit of cut out of the ground,” Smith said.
“She didn’t appreciate the hard tracks at her first couple back.
“It is Dead there at the moment, which is at least better than a good three.”