New Zealand filly Habibi is on track for Saturday’s Group 1 2013 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick where she is likely to start as favourite.
The Ekraar three-year-old will be second-up in the $550,000 fillies’ feature after running a bold third to Norzita and Longport in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
With Norzita lining up in the Doncaster, Habibi appears to be the horse to beat, having defeated the best staying three-year-olds across the Tasman last month in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).
The winner of six of eight starts was being considered for a start in last weekend’s Australian Derby but co-trainer Donna Logan is confident they made the right call.
“It’s A Dundeel beat them in a hand canter,” Logan told AAP.
Logan said Habibi has put on weight since the Vinery and is “thriving”ahead of her attempt to claim the second Group 1 win of her career.
“She’s not a big filly but she’s at 512 kilos which is pretty much where she was before the (NZ) Derby.”
Among the biggest rivals Habibi will have to overcome is Clarry Conners’ filly Dear Demi who has collected more than $1.2 million in prizemoney.
The daughter of Dehere is proven at the trip, having won last year’s Crown Oaks (2500m). But Dear Demi will have to improve on her past two runs to score her second Group 1, coming off an 11th in the Coolmore Classic and a fifth in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
Other potential Oaks contenders include Vinery runner-up Longport and Chris Waller-trained filly Royal Descent who won the Adrian Knox Stakes on Saturday.
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