While unsure if his star runner will break through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing this weekend, trainer Kris Lees is expecting a polished performance from Hera in the featured Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
While breaking through for some notable results in her native New Zealand before transferring to the care of Lees in February, the trainer believes the talented O‘reilly filly is much more of a miler than a stayer, and confirmed he will prepare her as such for spring; following a tilt at this weekend’s feature race.
“I think that she will be a miler next time around,” Lees told Racing Ahead.
“I’ve had a couple of chats to Roger James about her and I think that he is on the same wavelength as well, having trained her in New Zealand.
“She has a win at 2000 metres, but she had a soft time of it in front at the end of a long preparation, and she gives me every indication that she will be a miler.
“That is why you have those doubts going to 2400, but then again against three-year-old fillies at this time of year she deserves a chance.”
Unable to figure when eighth in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben last time out, Lees said he has been pleased with the way Hera has taken to work in the lead-up to the Queensland Oaks, but is not sure is she has the class to overcome a field that includes 2014 standout filly Arabian Gold.
“I am pleased with her work,” Lees added
“We were in two minds after The Roses, because we were a little bit disappointed, but we let the dust settle and her work was satisfactory Tuesday morning and more importantly she settled in the work.
“In her defence Jimmy (Cassidy) thought that she settled well enough, but I thought that she still raced a little fierce within herself in the first half of the race.
“That said it was only her second run in, albeit off a very short break, and she was beaten five lengths and I’m not sure that she can turn-the-tables on the favourite, but she has worked well since and they brought her for this race and I am pleased to push on.”
Hera is currently offered little chance of success in betting markets for the 2014 Queensland Oaks; available at a quote of $17 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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