A field of classy three-year-old fillies will run the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Thursday.
The second meet of the 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival, Crown Oaks Day is commonly called Ladies Day due to the fillies and mares racing on the day.
12 fillies will run the 2014 Crown Oaks, with half the field backing-up from the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) five days previously. The Wakeful is considered the key lead-up race to the Oaks, with 14 of the past 20 winners coming via the Derby Day race.
However the top two fillies contesting favouritism in the Crown Oaks odds at Ladbrokes.com.au skipped the race. Crafty opened the betting as $5 favourite though Lumosty has seen a lot of support and the market mover just pushed her out of the top spot after shortening from $5.50 to $4.80
Both are trained by Robert Smerdon but Crafty will enjoy an inside run from barrier three while Lumosty will start from barrier nine.
Lumosty is a last start winner after an easy 2½ length victory in the Group 2 Fillies Classic (1600m) on October 25 which followed a nine length maiden victory and a run in the Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m), in which she finished eighth.
Crafty meanwhile missed out on a win in both of her last two starts by just a shoulder, first in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and then in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m). Both were won by Fontein Ruby, who is a $15 shot in the Crown Oaks betting.
She is Smerdon’s third runner in the 2014 Crown Oaks and will jump from barrier 6 with Mark Zahra as hoop. The filly has seen her price lengthen out from $12 after misfiring in the Wakeful Stakes on Saturday. Despite finding the front early and maintaining the lead into the straight, she couldn’t find her usual speed and finished sixth. However back-to-back wins in the Edward Manifold and Caulfield Classic still have the filly as a contender for the Group One feature race.
Thunder Lady will aim to become the ninth Wakeful Stakes/Crown Oaks double winner on Thursday after a lovely run on Saturday in the Wakeful. She was near the rear one off the fence in a trailing position and only got through late to outstay her rivals in a lovely run.
The John Sargent-trained filly will jump from barrier eight with Tommy Berry in the saddle and is an $8 shot to complete the double.
Wakeful Stakes runner-up Abduction is also paying $8 while Golconda, who will enjoy the inside run from barrier one, is paying $19.
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