Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Connections of progressive Kiwi filly Full Of Spirit will pay the late entry fee to get the Flying Spur three-year-old into the ATC Oaks 2012 at Royal Randwick this Saturday after their successful down under debut last weekend.
The Roger James-trained filly backed up from a smart three length win over the mile back home in New Zealand to defeat a decent field of her own kind in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday when ridden by ace Kiwi hoop James McDonald.
Her NZ Derby winning stablemate Silent Achiever could only manage to run sixth in her big test against the boys in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on the same day and will bypass the $550,000 Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) this weekend.
“She is well but I think she is trying to tell us she has had enough,” James said of Silent Achiever.
James won’t be without a runner, however, with the $15,400 ATC Oaks late entry to be paid by Tuesday morning giving Full Of Spirit the chance to win at elite level for the first time.
“She is a very tough horse this filly,” Hauni Farm’s General Manager Mark Chitty said.
“She has tested every person who has worked with her from breaking her in to pre-training and now in her racing career.
“She won over a mile in the Manawatu on 31 March and the improvement we saw from her in that race was incredible.
“James McDonald rode her that day and was very impressed and full credit to him and Roger James as they convinced us to send her to Sydney to target this race off the back of that performance.
“She has always had the ability, we saw that on debut, but she has taken a few races to learn her trade but she is flying now.
“We are going to press on to the Group 1 Australian Oaks this weekend.”
James is confident that Full Of Spirit will be able to step up to the 2400-metres for the first time on Saturday and handle the distance competitively based on her strength and breeding.
“She is good, a big, tough type, and if I’ve ever trained one to handle backing up it will be her,” James said.
“Nothing phases her.
“It is always a worry going to the trip for the first time but against her own age and sex there is every chance she will get there.
“She is out of a three-quarter sister to (1998 Australian Oaks runner-up) Champagne, she is bred to run the trip.”
Full Of Spirit is yet to be added into the ATC Oaks odds at the country’s leading online bookies, but when she is she is likely to be one of the top fancies.
Current ATC Oaks betting markets at our preferred online betting agency bookmaker.com.au are dominated by an already odds-on favourite in Guy Walter’s Flight Stakes winner Streama paying $1.60.
A few weeks ago punters could get Streama, last seen running second to Mosheen in the Vinery Stud Stakes, for as long as $7.50 before Robert Smerdon’s four-time Group 1 winner Mosheen and Silent Achiever were ruled out of Australian Oaks contention.
The next best fancied after Streama, though at much juicier prices, are then Peter Moody’s Vinery Stud Stakes fourth placed Thy ($10) and Vinery Stud third placegetter Aliyana Tilde ($11).
If successful on Saturday in the ATC Oaks aboard Full Of Spirit it will be the second Oaks victory in Australia for McDonald after he partnered with another New Zealand-trained champ in Scarlett Lady to win last year’s Queensland Oaks in Brisbane during the winter.
Now is the ideal time to get behind your ATC Oaks favourites before markets come in with the release of the final field on Wednesday.
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