Godolphin’s private trainer John O’Shea is confident a run in this Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes will be the ideal lead-up ahead of a Crown Oaks 2014 bid Thursday week with his progressive filly Abduction.
The daughter of Street Cry is one of 16 three-year-old fillies nominated for this weekend’s $300,000 Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse.
The Wakeful is a traditional lead-up to the $500,000 Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) held back at the track this Melbourne Cup Carnival on November 6.
Fourteen of the past 20 Crown Oaks winners came via the Wakeful Stakes five days previous including eight to complete the double with: Brazilian Pulse (2010), Faint Perfume (2009), Serenade Rose (2005), Hollow Bullet (2004), Grand Archway (1998), Kensington Palace (1997), Saleous (1995) and Arborea (1993).
This year Abduction is out to be the next Wakeful – Oaks champion starting this Saturday on Victoria Derby Day.
A winner of two of her four runs this time in the lightly-raced Group 1 hope has been tested in black-type company just once before.
That was two back at Rosehill when winning the Listed Reginald Allen (1400m) despite being blocked for a run in the September 27 showdown.
Last start she raced at Randwick on October 18 in a Benchmark 78 and ran a credible fourth after a luckless run behind Muscovado in the City Tatts Inglis Bonus Handicap over the mile after getting caught up with 58kg.
“When she won that 1400 metre Listed race in Sydney she was back on the radar for me and consequently she ran right up to that again when she should have won her race at Randwick the other day,” O’Shea told Racenet this week.
“Historically it tells you if you can run well in that race and carry weight, you will be competitive wherever you step out and I think she’ll be even better at a mile and a quarter.”
Saturday then will be a notable rise in class for the Wakeful Stakes, nominations for which feature a host of the season’s best fillies including the Robert Smerdon-trained Caulfield Classic winner Fontein Ruby.
Turfontein filly Fontein Ruby has won four of her past five starts including also the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 4.
She is one of seven single figure hopes in a wide open futures Crown Oaks betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $6.
Smerdon also prepares the current $4 Crown Oaks favourite Crafty who was a close second to Fontein Ruby in the Caulfield Classic on the back of a third to that same stable mate in the Edward Manifold a month ago.
Abduction meanwhile is rated a $19 chance for the Oaks, a price that is sure to firm if she can score an upset Wakeful Stakes result on Saturday over the likes of the well fancied Ciaron Maher-trained duo Azkadellia and Set Square.
Shinko King filly Azkadellia is an $8 Oaks chance having won two of her three career starts to date and Set Square, while not currently nominated for the Group 1, is being kept safe at $5.50 after her two length Listed Ethereal Stakes (2000m) win at Caulfield last time out.
Abduction worked well over the Flemington mile on Tuesday morning after arriving in Melbourne at the start of the week for her interstate debut, quickening notably over her final 400m.
“(Connections) are very happy with her and her work this morning was brilliant,” O’Shea said.
“She’s in a good state of mind and I can’t fault her.”
As for the main Crown Oaks dangers, O’Shea pointed out the good third from Group 1 winner Go Indy Go in last Saturday’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) and also rated the form of Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (1600m) winner Lumosty from Crown Oaks Day.
“I think they are a strong and even crop of fillies going toward the Oaks,” O’Shea said.
“I thought Go Indy Go was good on Saturday as was Lumosty and a couple have come out of the Thousand Guineas and has run well.
“We ran third to Lumosty on Saturday with Berimbau and I think she’s around four lengths inferior to Abduction.”
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