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After a pleasing gallop at the track on Tuesday Northam-based trainer Cliff Smith is confident his born-to-stay filly I’m Feeling Lucky has what it takes to match it with the favourites in Saturday’s Belmont Oaks 2014.
There are 13 three-year-old fillies making up the field for this year’s $100,000 Listed Belmont Oaks (2000m) including the two that ran the Belmont Guineas quinella last time out, Tick Tick Bloom and Midnight Summer.
In the outside barrier (13) however is another talented hopeful looking to give the top fancies a run for their money, Smith’s three-year-old I’m Feeling Lucky.
A daughter of Irish sire Bletchley Park out of Danehill mare Twinkle Toes the pedigree on the filly is a staying one.
She gets a chance to prove that when stepping out over further than a mile for the first time this weekend.
“I think the 2000 will be to her advantage,” Smith told The West Australian.
“She’s bred to be a stayer and she can run really fast sectionals.”
I’m Feeling Lucky has had eight starts for two wins to date, the most recent being at the track over 1300m back in May.
Her latest effort was a third behind Trade Down in a Benchmark 60+ on June 21 over the 1600m, an effort Smith is hoping she can improve on as she steps up to the 2000m with Shaun O’Donnell retaining the ride.
The Belmont Oaks will also be her maiden Black Type assignment, one she looks on track to pass after her gallop at Belmont yesterday.
“I’m happy with her,” Smith added.
The likely favourite Tick Tick Bloom also had a Tuesday gallop to sharpen up for the Oaks, Adam Durrant’s daughter of Viscount putting in a strong run.
“Her gallop this morning was first-class,” Durrant said yesterday.
She only just held Midnight Shimmer’s measure in the Guineas when winning by a nose to make it three consecutive wins, and so will need to be at her best to hold off Grant Williams’ Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) fourth placegetter again.
Durrant though isn’t worried, rating Tick Tick Bloom as a top-class stayer who could turn out to be as good as Lords Ransom.
Over his turf career Lords Ransom won the Perth Cup, Cox Stakes, Pinjarra Cup, Bunbury Cup and the race Tick Tick Bloom could back-up in next race the Belmont Classic.
“This is a Lords Ransom-type of horse,” Durrant said of the filly.
“My gut tells me this is a good horse.
“She’s a very casual, laid-back type like he was and she’s taken a bit of time to learn.
“You don’t know how much improvement there is in her.”
Durrant won the Belmont Guineas, Oaks, Classic Triple Crown last season with Summah’s Touch and already he rates this filly more highly.
“You can never be too confident, but looking at the way she finished the other day she was finishing better than anything else,” he said looking at Saturday’s line-up.
“This [the Oaks] has been her target race for a while.”
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