Kris Lees’ last start Vinery Stud Stakes winner Lucia Valentina is the headline acceptor for Saturday’s Australian Oaks 2014 field where the smart filly will shoot for back-to-back Sydney Group 1 wins.
Savabeel three-year-old Lucia Valentina is one of 15 fillies accepted to face off in this year’s $1 million Group 1 Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m), running as Royal Randwick Race 6 at 3:05pm (AEST).
She’s set to jump clear favourite in Australian Oaks betting too, especially after drawing gate two, a position that hasn’t boded well in recent years with only three of the past 14 top fancies saluting in the classic.
Due to be ridden by Hugh Bowman again here, the New Zealand import has had just the three runs down under including her upset win in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) from two weeks ago in the mud at Rosehill.
There she was too strong for them coming from last to first in an effort she’ll be out to repeat going up to the mile and a half for the first time here.
While Vinery Stud runner-up Solicit skips the distance test racing instead in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), third and fourth placegetters in the traditional Oaks lead-up are backing up.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Forever Loved (3rd) has barrier seven and Tommy Berry aboard on Saturday after getting caught wide early in the Vinery from her outside barrier 13 of 16 draw.
While her run was full of merit she was still beaten six lengths and was no match for Lucia Valentina who she has to face again here.
Rising Romance then was fourth in the Vinery, the Donna & Dean Logan-trained Ekraar filly making her Aussie debut there.
Back home in New Zealand she’s been a force to be reckoned with including her second to Puccini in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), a distance she gets to see again here.
The next best fancied in this year’s Australian Oaks field is then Guy Walter’s Zanbagh.
Crown Oaks runner-up from the spring, Bernardini filly Zanbagh won the Group 3 Keith Nolan Classic in late March before barrier 16 got the better of her for her Vinery Stud fifth last time out.
This weekend barrier six will be more to her liking, Zanbagh tipped to improve over the extra distance.
Walter will also be represented in the race by his Vinery Stud six placed Teofilo filly Missvonn out in barrier 11 as he shoots for his fourth Australian Oaks trophy.
Missvonn ran again last weekend at this track when second to Arabian Gold in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) in a fine effort meaning she has to race three times in as many weeks here for her shot at the Oaks.
Other notable hopes then include up-and-coming Thorn Park filly Suavito from Victoria who has drawn out in the car park with gate 15 and Waterhouse’s two other runners.
Waterhouse, also a three time Australian Oaks winning trainer, has three chances to win her fourth in 2014.
Along with High Chaparral filly Forever Loved she saddles up Kiwi import Role Model and a daughter of the ill-fated Northern Meteor Amanpour – drawn at opposite ends of the field in barriers 14 and one respectively.
See below for the full Australian Oaks 2014 field, barriers and jockeys with updated markets to open shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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2014 Australian Oaks Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 6 – 3:05pm (AEST) – 19/04/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||03112×9515||ZANBAGH||Guy Walter||Blake Shinn||6||56kg||91|
|2||161F2x301||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||2||56kg||102|
|3||441131224||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||Donna Logan||James McDonald||4||56kg||99|
|4||3672715210||MISS MOSSMAN (NZ)||John Sargent||Nash Rawiller||13||56kg||96|
|5||21312×327||SUAVITO (NZ)||Nigel Blackiston||Damien Oliver||15||56kg||82|
|6||18×52103||FOREVER LOVED (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||7||56kg||85|
|7||2312212||MISS SELBY (NZ)||John Bary||Glen Boss||9||56kg||90|
|8||4×66334002||CASINO DANCER||Mike Van Gestel||Chad Schofield||10||56kg||80|
|9||9×12148||INTERSPERSED||Sam Kavanagh||Kerrin McEvoy||3||56kg||81|
|10||3x39125x28||ROLE MODEL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Brenton Avdulla||14||56kg||81|
|11||35×2921195||AMANPOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||1||56kg||76|
|12||1375×41562||MISSVONN||Guy Walter||Craig Newitt||11||56kg||79|
|13||0x4491387||CAST IN STONE||Bart & James Cummings||Craig Williams||12||56kg||63|
|14||9×81342||CUBAN STAR||Kerry Parker||–||8||56kg||56|
|15||6340||BLUE EYES||Pat Carey||–||5||56kg||59|