This Saturday, May 18, the early favourites for the Queensland Oaks 2013 will feature in an early showdown with Dear Demi and Express Power to face off in the $175,000 Group 3 The Roses (2000m) on Doomben Cup Day.
Current markets for the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), running at Eagle Farm on June 1, have Clarry Conners’ Crown Oaks winner Dear Demi as the $4 favourite over the Kris Lees-trained Express Power.
Dehere three-year-old Dear Demi has won just one of her five starts since taking out the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival and was last seen finishing 10 lengths away second to Royal Descent in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) run in the mud at Randwick last month.
On Saturday she’s likely to get a firmer track with sunny skies predicted in Brisbane leading up to the weekend, however she will still have her work cut out for her as she has drawn unfavourably wide with gate 20 (into 16 with the five emergencies coming out) for The Roses.
Second fancy in the Queensland Oaks odds Express Power meanwhile has come up trumps in The Roses barriers with gate five.
Due to be ridden by Hall of Famer Jim Cassidy the progressive daughter of Snitzel has been in ace form this time in finishing second to subsequent Australian Oaks winner Royal Descent in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) on April 13 before taking out the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the start of the month when overcoming barrier 13 of 14.
Newcastle-based Lees is confident she can be competitive again on Saturday heading towards the Oaks after watching her work at the Gold Coast in the wet on Monday morning where she has been stabled since the Bracelet.
“The Gold Coast was very heavy so I took the chance to give Express Power a look at the track before Saturday’s race,” Lees said.
“She has never seen Doomben before, and she really took to the place.
“Jimmy Cassidy will stick with her on Saturday, but I asked his brother Larry to ride her in the gallop.
“He worked her on the outside of the course proper. The track was rain-affected, but in any case she wasn’t sent out to go against the clock.
“My foreman, Cameren Swan, watched the work and he was more than happy with what the filly did.”
Express Power will be joined in the field on Saturday by stablemate Soapy Star (barrier 18) who ran a cracking second to her in the Gold Coat Bracelet.
Their trainer is keeping his chin up despite Soapy Star’s horror The Roses draw, her weekend performance to determine whether she presses onto the Oaks where she is currently listed as “unlikely” at $26.
“We will give Soapy Star another chance on Saturday to see whether we also proceed to the Oaks with her,” Lees said.
The trainer opted not to accept for his third Oaks hope Masroora on Saturday after she failed to impress in a track gallop at Broadmeadow on Tuesday.
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