With 2014 Queensland Oaks first acceptances closing today ahead of Saturday week’s showdown, Melbourne trainer Robert Smerdon has confirmed a start in the classic for both Rezoned and Every Faith.
There are currently 70 fillies in the mix for this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) after connections paid the $11,550 late entry fee for the Luke Oliver-trained Khutulun this week.
That figure will be slashed later today when first acceptances for the Eagle Farm feature are taken.
Two fillies confirmed as first acceptors come from the Caulfield stables of Smerdon who will pay up for both Rezoned and Every Faith following their nice gallops in Melbourne on Tuesday morning.
“They both worked the reverse direction this morning without any problem so at this stage they are on track and if things keep ticking over the way they are then they will head there,” Smerdon told AAP yesterday.
In current pre-post Queensland Oaks odds David Vandyke’s impressive The Roses winner at Doomben last weekend Arabian Gold is the clear $2 favourite.
A good barrier next week and the Dubawi grey, who also won two Group 3 Randwick races over 2000m in April, will likely start in odds-on territory for her Oaks bid.
Also at single figures to win are the likes of New Zealand visitor Rock Diva ($7) who ran third in the NZ Oaks over the 2400m before her The Roses sixth, Khutulun ($8) who earned her shot after running second to Queensland Derby-bound Sonntag at Caulfield last weekend, the Kris Lees-trained Hera ($8.50) and The Roses runner-up Tinto ($9) who jockey Tim Bell is confident can turn the tables in the Oaks.
Rezoned meanwhile at $11 is the best fancied of Smerdon’s two, the daughter of Zabeel having enjoyed a Group 3 SA Fillies Classic (2500m) win at Morphettville on May 10.
That followed on from a disappointing 11th to the Darren Weir-trained May’s Dream, a doubtful Queensland Oaks acceptor, in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at the same track at the end of April.
Every Faith can then be found further down the Queensland Oaks betting markets at $26 despite having been beaten just one and a half lengths by their better fancied stable mate when third in the SA Fillies Classic.
Mark Zahra retains the ride on Rezoned for the Oaks after combining to win the Adelaide Group 3 with her.
Every Faith meanwhile will be ridden by Glen Boss who replaces Simon Price aboard the stakes winner for her past four Morphettville runs that included a ninth in the Schweppes Oaks and a Listed win over the mile back in March.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the Queensland Oaks 2014 field and betting updates.
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