Oliver Eyeing Australasian Oaks with Kansas Sunflower

Caulfield-based trainer Luke Oliver is yet to saddle a race winner at the highest level but is confident he is offered a live chance of breaking the drought via talented three-year-old Kansas Sunflower following an impressive victory at Flemington over the weekend.

Luke Oliver is hopeful Kansas Sunflower will progress into a serious Australasian Oaks chance. Photo: Adrienne Bicknell

Luke Oliver is hopeful Kansas Sunflower will progress into a serious Australasian Oaks chance. Photo: Adrienne Bicknell

Kansas Sunflower bounced from the gates in positive fashion in the Denis Walter Afternoons Trophy (1600m); receiving a good run in transit slightly worse than mid-field before beating notable runner Sea Spray to the line following a fierce sprint battle in the final straight.

Having posted several commendable results through her eight start career so-far, Oliver is confident Kansas Flower will continue to improve over increased racing distances and has underlined the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at South Australia’s Morphettville Racecourse on May 2nd as an ideal target.

“She’s a nice filly that’s going in the right direction and it’s hopefully onwards and upwards from here,” Oliver said.

“She was probably a bint unlucky here on Oaks Day (third in the 7 News Plate 1700m) and probably at Albury as well because she has just been getting to the front too soon but today she got a good ride from Chris (Symons), she had the last crack at them and was too strong.

“If she comes through today’s race alright she’ll back up in the Group 3 1800m race for fillies (Schweppervescence Stakes) in Adelaide next week and then hopefully progress to the Schweppes Oaks a fortnight later.”

Debuting for fifth in a Geelong maiden event last winter before immediately returning to the paddock, Kansas Sunflower ran a close second in the Costanzo Auto Repairs Maiden (1107m) upon resuming in spring; progressing to fourth in the Yellowglen Plate (1400m) and a credible fifth in the Group 3 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic (1600m) leading into her 7 News Plate third.

Breaking through for a maiden race win in the Industry Kitchens Maiden Plate (1200m) first-up this time, the Mastercraftsman filly was unlucky to be blocked for a run leading into the final straight and third in the Albury Guineas (1400m) in her only other start prior to Saturday’s triumph on March 27th.

The 2015 Schweppervescence Stakes final field and barrier draw will be completed and released on Wednesday.

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