The Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) is considered the traditional lead-up race to the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) four days later on November 6, but Caulfield trainer Ciaron Maher is using a different approach for his talented filly Azkadellia.
The Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m), also running this Saturday at Flemington, will be the race to test the New Zealand-bred filly’s credentials on her way to potentially winning the 2014 Crown Oaks.
Azkadellia is the clear favourite in the Carbine Club Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.90, even though it will be just her fourth career start and first black type race.
Maher continues to be amazed by her potential and is looking forward to letting the filly decide where her future lies after Saturday.
“We’ve got her in the Oaks and she was in the Thousand Guineas, so we’ve always had an opinion of her, and this was just a nice progression,” Maher told racing.com.
“We’ll just see how she is (after Saturday). She might go to the Oaks, the Sandown Guineas or maybe the paddock.
“She’s a lightly filly and it’s her first racing campaign, but she’s got a bright future. She’ll just continue to develop, she’s a lovely-moving horse that’s still developing, so you’d think she’d only be better in the autumn and probably this time next year.”
Azkadellia will also have the advantage of being the first ride for superstar international jockey Joao Moreira on Victoria Derby Day as he makes a rare trip to Melbourne.
Punters clearly believe she has what it takes to win the Carbine Club Stakes, she’s the market mover of the betting market firming from $3.30 to her current $2.90.
There are three other single figure hopefuls in the field, including Kermadec ($5.50). The Chris Waller-trained colt will get a good start from barrier two as he starts just his third career race – the first at Group level.
Stratum Star ($7.50) is one of the more experienced horses on the field with nine career starts to his name. The Darren Weir-trained colt has won three of his starts including the Listed Yellowglen Vintage Stakes (1400m) and Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) his last two times out. However this will be his first time stepping up to the mile.
Our Vespa ($8.50) has scored the ideal inside run after drawing barrier one with Craig Williams as hoop. The Johno Benner-trained colt has already proven successful in his own country of New Zealand, even winning a Group 1 race – the Diamond Stakes (1200m). He had his first start in Australia last month in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) however the colt finished sixth to Rich Enuff after getting caught near the 400m mark.
There are some talented horses running the 2014 Carbine Club Stakes this Saturday, and not just the single figure hopefuls.
Gai Waterhouse’s Wandjina, Fillies Classic runner-up Tahni Dancer (both $10), and Mick Price’s Manhattan Avenue ($15) could all cause an upset and win the race following successful spring campaigns.
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