Following her outstanding win in the $175,000 Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on the weekend, David Vandyke’s smart filly Arabian Gold has firmed into clear favouritism to win Saturday week’s Queensland Oaks 2014.
The daughter of Dubawi made it three on the trot on Saturday backing up off successive 2000m Randwick wins at Group 3 level to win a Brisbane Group 2 in her maiden Queensland start.
She was favourite on the day after a gun barrier one draw in The Roses and her excellent lead-up form, and easily saluted for the punters with her one and a quarter length victory over Rex Lipp’s Gold Coast Bracelet winner Tinto.
It was a win Vandyke knew she was capable of on paper, but that didn’t stop the nerves on Saturday.
“This was one of the greatest reliefs I have had in racing because on paper I just couldn’t see her getting beaten,” he told The Courier Mail post-win.
“In my mind she had the ability to outsprint her opposition wherever she was in the race.”
The victory was also her eighth from 17 career starts, an excellent record as Arabian Gold heads towards her second career Group 1 run.
She debuted at elite level last November in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
There she over-raced during the first half of the race and could only manage to finish four and a half lengths off the winner Kirramosa.
Vandyke is more confident in her next Oaks assignment, the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) to run at Eagle Farm on May 31, which looks hers for the taking so long as she pulls up from her Doomben run well.
“As long as she recovers well she will head to the Oaks,” he said.
“This is her fourth carnival in a row that she has performed at stakes level.
“I was an outstanding win [in The Roses] and she was so nice and relaxed.
“She has got a very economical action and keeps herself well balanced through the run which allows her to track up through her gears until she hits top speed.”
The bookies are on Vandyke’s side too as Arabian Gold has firmed in from the third line of Queensland Oaks betting to top spot as the $2.30 pre-post favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
She’s followed in the markets by New Zealand raider Telepathic ($4.20) who is also favourite for the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) the following weekend up against the boys.
The other single figure Queensland Oaks hopes are then fellow Kiwi hope Rock Diva ($7) who ran sixth in The Roses in their first run since a NZ Oaks third in early March, the Kris Lees-trained Hera ($8.50) who was a disappointing eighth in the same race and The Roses runner-up Tinto ($9).
Tinto’s jockey on the weekend Tim Bell said he couldn’t wait for the Oaks rematch with Arabian Gold.
Bell blamed his filly’s loss on getting bumped by the subsequent winner and that with a clearer run over more distance Saturday week the daughter of Red Dazzler could turn the tables.
“I can’t wait to meet Arabian Gold in the Oaks,” he said.
“We will reverse the placings.
“The winner decked me and took my momentum away.
“The margin was too much to protest, but I draw a lot of confidence from the way mine pulled ground off her late.”
Third place getter in Saturday’s Oaks lead-up Tornado Miss, beaten two and a half lengths, could also back-up in the Group 1 with Tony Gollan to take guidance from race jockey Craig Newitt.
She currently pays a juicy $31 in the latest Queensland Oaks markets.
Queensland Oaks 2014 first acceptances are due out on Wednesday with the final field released next week.
That makes now the perfect time to jump on the juicy futures Queensland Oaks odds open at Ladbrokes.com.au before markets firm ahead of the fillies’ classic.