This week Racing Queensland took first acceptances for Saturday week’s Queensland Oaks 2014 with 28 hopeful fillies left in the mix.
There were originally 69 nominations for this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), set to run at Eagle Farm Racecourse on May 31.
That number went up to an even 70 though when connections paid a late entry fee for the Luke Oliver-trained Khutulun following her second to Queensland Derby hope Sonntag at Caulfield over the weekend.
Now though there are under 30 fighting for a spot in the Queensland Oaks final field, the clear favourite of which is Arabian Gold.
David Vandyke’s Dubawi grey has firmed into nearly odds-on territory in the updated Queensland Oaks betting markets paying $2 to break her Group 1 maiden.
Her form suggests she’s going to take some beating too as she’s won her past three straight starts.
Back-to-back Sydney wins over 2000m at Group 3 level in April were followed by a brilliant Brisbane debut last Saturday at Doomben when she won the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) in the ideal Oaks trial.
The fillies that ran two-three behind Arabian Gold in The Roses are also still in the mix for the Group 1 rematch with Queenslanders Tinto and Tornado Miss both also among the Queensland Oaks first acceptors.
Tinto is a $9 chance to turn the tables after Rex Lipp’s Toowoomba-trained daughter of Red Dazzler got knocked by the eventual winner and failed to make up the ground when beaten one and a half in The Roses.
Jockey Tim Bell is confident that she can reverse that quinella in the Oaks however having also ridden her for her Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) victory on a Heavy (8) track two back.
Tornado Miss meanwhile represents Brisbane horseman Tony Gollan, going for the Doomben 10,000 win with Spirit Of Boom this weekend.
She is at even longer Queensland Oaks odds as a $31 roughie even though her form has been right up there this campaign.
Second favourite to win in the futures markets meanwhile is Rock Diva ($7) followed by Khutulun ($8) and Hera ($8.50).
Tony Pike’s Kiwi-trained Lucky unicorn filly Rock Diva earned a trip to Australia on the back of some outstanding New Zealand form including a Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) win on March 5 and a third behind Miss Mossman in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) 10 days later.
She debuted down under in The Roses when sixth, beaten nearly five lengths, but was down in distance and is sure to appreciate getting back out to a mile and a half.
Pike has also paid the latest round of fees for his O’Reilly filly Sancerre who has won both of her Australian starts to date.
The first was over the mile at the Sunshine Coast on May 11 and then she won at Ipswich in a Benchmark 80 over 2200m on Wednesday.
The real surprise Queensland Oaks first acceptor and fancy though is Hera who has stayed in the mix for trainer Kris Lees despite her Roses failure.
Winner of the Group 2 Tristam Classic (2000m) in her native New Zealand in February, Hera joined Lees in Australia at his Broadmeadow base in April and debuted when fourth to Estonian Princess in the Group 3 James Carr Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
She then backed up in The Roses over the 2000m but failed when eighth in a run Lees is hoping she can improve on and prove her toughness.
As expected Darren Weir’s Group 1 Schweppes Oaks winner May’s Dream was not among the first acceptors for the Queensland edition.
Other notable non-acceptors included the Roger James-trained Hawkesbury Guineas runner-up Katie’s Cove and Peter Moody’s Lady Tatia who failed at Caulfield last weekend when 10th in the race Khutulun earned her late entry in.
The Queensland Oaks 2014 final field and barriers are set for release next Wednesday so stay tuned.
In the meantime get behind your favourites at their current juicy odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll always find the hottest odds and biggest horse racing bonuses!
2014 Queensland Oaks First Acceptances
Eagle Farm Racecourse – 31/05/2014
|1||ARABIAN GOLD||David Vandyke|
|2||ASADAUSKAITE (NZ)||Michael Moroney|
|3||EKOFANIDEA (NZ)||David Kelly|
|4||EVERY FAITH||Robert Smerdon|
|5||EXECUTE AT DAWN||Desleigh Forster|
|6||FALAMONTE (NZ)||Robbie Laing|
|8||HERA (NZ)||Kris Lees|
|9||I’M TROUBLE||Matthew Smith|
|11||MOON AND THE STARS||Harold Norman|
|14||PARIS MATCH||Anthony Cummings|
|15||RAUNCHY ROCKER||Gai Waterhouse|
|16||REZONED (NZ)||Robert Smerdon|
|17||RING DA BELLE||Paul Murray|
|18||ROCK DIVA (NZ)||Tony Pike|
|19||SANCERRE (NZ)||Tony Pike|
|20||SAVVY KINGSTONETTE (NZ)||Robbie Laing|
|21||SISTER SOUSS||John P Thompson|
|22||SNAPCRACKLE (NZ)||David Kelly|
|23||SOMERSET LASS||Liam Birchley|
|24||STAR FASHION||David Hayes|
|25||TELEPATHIC (NZ)||Donna Logan|
|28||TORNADO MISS||Tony Gollan|