While pleased with the condition and ability of his 2015 Queensland Oaks hope Ungrateful Ellen, Caulfield horseman Robert Smerdon is very wary of the red hot favourite Winx in Saturday’s Brisbane feature.
One of the best in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au in markets firmly led by the Chris Waller-trained Winx ($2.45) for the $500,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben Racecourse this weekend, Smerdon’s Grey Swallow filly Ungrateful Ellen pays $10 for the upset.
Smerdon is confident the 2200m distance is a non-issue for the two-time winner who was last seen running third to Okahu Bay in the Group 3 SA Fillies Classic (2500m) at Morphettville on May 16, which followed a brave fifth behind boom WA filly Delicacy in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m).
What he is worried about is how to get the better of Waller’s ATC Oaks runner-up and last start Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Winx who the bookies are tipping as sure thing in the Queensland Oaks.
“Ungrateful Ellen has come through Adelaide well, but how do you beat Winx?” he said to AAP.
“But Ungrateful Ellen runs the trip and if it’s wet it won’t worry her.”
Smerdon has Ungrateful Ellen flying to Queensland on Tuesday night and jockey Craig Williams will continue his association with her on Saturday shooting for his maiden Queensland Oaks win.
The other major dangers according to the latest Queensland Oaks betting markets at Ladbrokes are Gai Waterhouse’s super-impressive The Roses winner Bohemian Lily ($5.50), Sebrina ($7) and Waller’s other hopeful Ballet Suite ($8) who worked well between races at the Gold Coast over the weekend instead of a run in Brisbane’s The Roses.
“Brad Pengelly rode her and gave me a good report,” Waller said.
“Winx also galloped at the Gold Coast on Saturday in the morning and she is also fit and well ahead of the Oaks.
“The fact the race is at Doomben and over 2200 metres instead of 2400 is in their favour.”
Going back to Sebrina, the Bjorn Baker-trained daughter of Sebring won on a Heavy (9) track at Warwick Farm earlier in the month over the mile before running in the mud again last Saturday at Randwick when fourth to 2015 Queensland Derby-bound High Midnight in a Benchmark 73 where she was held-up badly in the straight.
Baker saw enough in that run to press onto the Oaks, Sebrina a possible value bet on the weekend with the distance to suit.
“On the bright side the run (at Randwick) wouldn’t have gutted her,” he said.
“There is still plenty left heading into Saturday.
“She will head up later this week.
“She’s on target and will be spot on for the 2200-metres.”
To check out the full early Queensland Oaks 2015 betting odds before markets firm with the final field out on Wednesday morning visit Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 new depositor bonus this season!