While there might be doubts about how Toowoomba filly Tinto will handle the mile and a half at the roomier Eagle Farm track, that’s a query facing most of her 2014 Queensland Oaks rivals on Saturday according to her trainer Rex Lipp.
One of a capacity number of three-year-old fillies facing off in this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m), Tinto is second best in betting paying $7.50.
She trails only the in-form Arabian Gold ($2.50) who, like Tinto, steps up to the 2400m for the first time.
Lipp’s daughter of Red Dazzler has won two of her 11 starts to date, most recently in the wet at the Gold Coast when narrowly holding off another Oaks rival Paris Match in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) on May 3.
She backed up at Doomben then on May 17 drawing wide again, barrier 14 for the Bracelet and 12 in Brisbane, in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m).
There she got into a nice position near the front and had the lead on the home straight but got outsprinted by the David Vandyke-trained Arabian Gold to go down one and a quarter lengths.
Jockey Timothy Bell, aboard for both of Tinto’s past two runs and retaining the ride on Saturday, was impressed with his filly’s effort after she got pushed out by the winner and believes her a better chance in the Oaks.
She’s had better luck with the barriers this time coming up with gate six, but Arabian Gold has also drawn well with the rails which has produced the most Queensland Oaks winners since 1983 than any other gate.
Tinto has had three previous runs at Eagle Farm but with no luck, her latest run there being an eighth in the Listed Princess Stakes (1600m) on April 19.
“Of course, the question is the 2400 metres at Eagle Farm which is a bigger track than the Gold Coast and Doomben,” Lipp said.
“But I liked the way she hit the line in the Roses after she copped a bump on the home turn.
“The distance question mark is the same for most of the runners.”
If she overcomes her Eagle Farm hoodoo however and scores an upset Queensland Oaks result she’ll be lining up her Queensland sire Red Dazzler for a rare double.
The stallion is also represented in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival’s other major three-year-olds’ race Saturday week with the Helen Page-trained Rudy to line up in the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
You have to go right back to 1971-72 then to find a Queensland stallion whose offspring have won the Oaks and Derby in the same season, Lysander II achieving the feat with Meanmi Shadow (Oaks) and Amby’s Love (Derby).
Eureka Stud, of Spirit Of Boom fame, on the Darling Downs is home to Tinto’s stallion Red Dazzler, and the filly is part-owned by the wife of Eureka’s stud master Scott McAlpine, Grania McAlpine.
“Eureka has been having a great winter with Temple Of Boom, Spirit Of Boom, Theft and Pure Purrfection all winning since the carnival started,” Scott McAlpine told AAP.
“Now we hope it is Grania’s turn.”
The stud has produced many winners of Queensland’s major races over the years including 1982 Queensland Oaks champion Mother Of Pearl and 2006 Queensland Derby champ Ice Chariot.
They’ve had Classic success in Sydney too back in 1986 with the AJC Oaks victory of Just Now.
Lipp then is looking for another Oaks success for the stud where he worked during the start of his career.
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