She may be at triple figures to win but Sydney trainer John O’Shea is confident his last start Kembla Grange winner Fancy Dress is still in with a chance for the Australian Oaks 2013 at Randwick on April 20.
The daughter of Savabeel, raced by Garry Chittick for Waikato Stud, was bought over from her native New Zealand specifically to target the $550,000 Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) and has had three runs heading towards that Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival grand final.
On debut she ran fifth at Goulburn in February before another fifth place finish this time at Wyong on March 14 when ridden by James McDonald.
McDonald was in the saddle again last start when the progressive three-year-old broke her maiden status with a tight victory over older rival Quality Impulse in the $25,000 VisitWoolonggon.Com Handicap over the Kembla Grange mile last weekend.
Relishing the step up in distance there it seems Fancy Dress will continue to improve as she sees more ground giving O’Shea some confidence heading towards the mile and a half of the Oaks.
“She’s in the Oaks and that’s what she is here for,” O’Shea’s assistant trainer Bryce Heys said.
“She still has a lot to learn in terms of tractability but she has always given the impression she will run a strong mile-and-a-half.
“Hopefully she can make it to the race for Waikato Stud because they have been dear friends of the stable for a long time.”
In the latest Australian Oaks betting odds Fancy Dress is one of the big outsiders at $151 despite her breakthrough win.
Markets are led by three single-figure chances with the spring’s Crown Oaks winner Dear Demi ($4), New Zealand Derby winner Habibi ($4.60) and Bart Cummings’ Flight Stakes champ Norzita who ran a close third to Appearance and Red Tracer in the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill last Saturday with James McDonald aboard.
Fancy Dress could be given her chance to improve those odds with a lead-up win with connections considering her for the $125,000 Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Australian Derby Day, April 13, the winner of which is exempt from ATC Oaks ballot.
“Her manners will get better with racing and hopefully we’ll see that if she goes to the Adrian Knox Stakes,” Heys said.
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