Robert Smerdon looks set to dominate the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) field on November 6, following the outcome of the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) running at Flemington tomorrow.
The trainer already has the two market leaders for the Crown Oaks betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au with Crafty ($4.60) and Lumosty ($5.50). Another two of his entries could join them at the top following the 2014 Wakeful Stakes.
The Wakeful is the traditional lead-up race to the $500,000 Crown (VRC) Oaks with fourteen of the past 20 winners coming via the Group Two race five days previously, including eight who completed the double: Brazilian Pulse (2010), Faint Perfume (2009), Serenade Rose (2005), Hollow Bullet (2004), Grand Archway (1998), Kensington Palace (1997), Saleous (1995) and Arborea (1993).
Smerdon has decided to send Crafty and Lumosty straight to the Crown Oaks but Fontein Ruby and Savage Coup are following the traditional path.
Fontein Ruby is a $3.70 shot to win the 2014 Wakeful Stakes, just shy of favourite Abduction ($3.60), following back-to-back wins earlier this month in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m).
She has once again drawn wide (barrier 12) but proved she could win from the outside barrier in the Classic. Smerdon has no doubt she’ll be a performer come tomorrow.
“She’s just so resilient,” Smerdon told Sky Racing.
“She doesn’t do any more on the track than any other horse, but she’s just got a very, very competitive nature.
“Her last two starts have demonstrated that. She looked beaten both times but just kicked back both times and has beaten good horses.”
Savage Coup meanwhile has been overlooked by punters, drifting from $21 out to $34, after finishing second last in the Listed Ethereal Stakes (2000m) last time out but Smerdon hasn’t ruled her out yet.
“I’ve always had a good opinion of her,” he said.
“She needed the run last start so it’s really a watershed day for her as to which direction she goes.
“If she performs well enough and handles it and pulls up well enough, we may consider going to the Oaks. But she would have to step right up.”
Fontein Ruby is offering odds of $6.50 in the Crown Oaks 2014 odds, which will only shorten should she win the Wakeful Stakes tomorrow.
With nine black type races running as part of Victoria Derby Day tomorrow, there’s plenty of racing action to sink your teeth into. Make sure your online betting account is up and running at Ladbrokes.com.au.