German import Oriental Lady is in good form to win the Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, according to jockey Brenton Avdulla.
Avdulla, who has ridden the five-year-old mare in eight of her nine starts since relocating to Australia, believes the 2015 Australia Day Cup is the right race at the right time for Oriental Lady.
“All of these imports take a prep or two to get right and she’s starting to make that progression,” Avdulla told Sky Racing.
The Kris Lees-trained Oriental Lady had five starts last winter, three of which she won including the Hyland Race Colours Handicap which was over the same distance as the Australia Day Cup.
However when the mare was continued on to the spring with no spell, she lost her spark, finishing eighth in both the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) and Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m).
Following a three month spell, Oriental Lady returned to racing in the December Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on December 27. The mare sat fourth on the rails back of the speed and was three lengths from the leaders with 400 metres to go. She stayed around that margin all the way to the line, finishing two and a half lengths behind winner Amovatio in last place.
Her last start second placing in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) on January 9 in particular has given Avdulla hope she can deliver her first stakes win on Saturday.
“Oriental Lady went well first up when she was held up and I thought she ran huge the other day in the Gosford Cup. We rode her quiet from the draw and she found the line strongly,” he said.
“She’s taken good improvement off it, she’s drawn soft on Saturday, it’s an open race but she gets her chance to win a Listed race in Australia.”
Oriental Lady is one of 11 confirmed runners in the 2015 Australia Day Cup, set to jump from barrier four.
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