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On Saturday Warwick Farm trainer Guy Walter will saddle up three of the eight three-year-old fillies in the Australian Oaks 2012 field including the odds-on favourite Streama who he says can and should win even in the wet.
Running as Royal Randwick Race 5 at 2:16pm the $550,000 Group 1 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) looks easy pickings for Flight Stakes winning Stratum filly Streama out to provide jockey Hugh Bowman with his second win in the classic after his success with Daffodil three years back.
Her trainer Walter is also seeking another victory, his record standing at three with Wild Iris (2004) and Republic Lass (2002).
He also prepared 2007 runner-up Perfect Drop and 1998 third placegetter Star Alight.
Streama’s paying around $1.60 in the latest Australian Oaks odds, has won at Group 1 level here last spring and has winning form on a Heavy track.
“She is coming along very well,” Walter said.
“It is unfortunate she is going to strike what looks likes a pretty wet track.
“She can handle it wet but I’d prefer it not to be wet.
“She is a classy filly, and we are relying on that class pulling her through on Saturday.”
Last start Streama showed she was in the perfect form to add a second elite level to her title when she finished just half a length off the brilliant Mosheen in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
Saturday sees her go up to the 2400-metres for the first time and while the distance is an unknown she faces a seemingly easier field here.
Walter admitted that they were originally considering a run in Saturday’s marquee event, the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), with Streama but decided this would be a better target after her disappointing fifth in the Coolmore Classic over 1500m two back.
“We thought originally at the end of last preparation about the Doncaster,” Walter said.
“We were pretty disappointed with her effort in the Coolmore; she didn’t have much luck but she had to run well there to run in the Doncaster.
“The other factor is she is a lot more relaxed this campaign.
“Last time in you wouldn’t have thought she could get the Oaks trip.
“I don’t think you ever really know if they’ll run the 2400 metres until you try them.
“It is a lot different running on at the end of 2000 metresat Rosehill than it is running 2400 metres on a bog at Randwick.”
Streama’s main dangers are perceived to be Kiwi filly Full Of Spirit, the Roger James-trained hopeful having won her Aussie debut in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday but who is unlikely to relish the heavy going.
Walter said Full Of Spirit’s win last weekend was eye-catching, and has her tipped as the one to watch.
“The New Zealand filly was very good last Saturday,” he said.
“She is just coming good, and I see her as a major threat in the Oaks, she is obviously the testing material for us.”
Also in the mix is Vinery Stud third placegetter Aliyana Tilde who has winning form on a Heavy (8) track at Gosford last month.
Walter then saddles up two other chances as he vies for the Australian Oaks Trifecta with Lightens in barrier two with Kerrin McEvoy aboard and Colourist on the rails with Kathy O’Hara in the saddle.
Viscount filly Lightens has been progressing through the ranks well and was last seen crossing three lengths away fourth from Full Of Spirit in the Adrian Knox Stakes.
“Basically we decided to accept with Lightens once it wasn’t a big field,” Walter explained.
“Lightens’ run in the Adrian Knox was quite good, and she’ll be better suited by a good alley on Saturday; we’ll ride her a bit closer.
“I don’t know about the wet ground, it is a bit of an unknown, but the run last Saturday was good enough to give her a shot.”
Colourist will be at a blow out price for Saturday after the daughter of Danzero failed to beat home any of her rivals in the Adrian Knox, however Walter said not to rule her out with the muddy ground to work in her favour.
“The other girl (Colourist) wasn’t going to accept but she’ll really like the ground,” Walter said.
“She ran fourth on a heavy track in the Fernhill at Randwick (last April).
“It’ll be a soft track once again, a filly in good shape, and we’ll give her an opportunity.”
Rounding out the Australian Oaks field are then the Peter Moody-trained Vinery Stud Stakes fourth placed Thy, David Hayes’ progressive Fastnet Rock filly Rock Robster with Craig Williams riding, and the Clarry Conners-trained roughie Suzanne.
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