Master trainer of the fillies’ classics John Sargent has declared this weekend’s Queensland Oaks 2015 as a lottery and is confident a roughie shot can upset the favourites in the clash held at Doomben Racecourse this year.
In the past decade just three Queensland Oaks favourites have saluted for the punters, the most recent of which was Scarlett Lady (2011).
Another upset is more than possible again this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival according to Sargent who won the classic with Quintessential (2012) at the race’s traditional Eagle Farm home.
This year’s $500,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) though is run over 200m shorter than the classic mile and a half and with Eagle Farm undergoing renovations it runs at a much tighter Doomben course.
How the capacity field of three-year-old fillies handle the tight circuit on Saturday in Doomben Race 7 at 3:57pm (AEST) then will be key to their chances.
Sargent hopes the change of venue works against the race’s hot favourites with Chris Waller-trained Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Winx and Gai Waterhouse’s easy The Roses champion from last weekend Bohemian Lily leading the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au but drawn wide with barriers 13 and 20 respectively.
“The Oaks favourites are beatable at Doomben — it is a very tough course,” he told The Courier Mail.
“If you go wide, you run off the course. If you wait for a run, you often don’t get one.
“There is a lot of luck in the races at Doomben. Every horse in the Oaks field will have a chance.”
In the full field of 16 starter plus five emergencies, Sargent will saddle-up two outside hopes in Swift Lady (16) and the lightly-raced second emergency Champion Stage (6) who has won her past two on the trot but who needs two scratchings to gain a start on Saturday.
As well as the 2012 Queensland Oaks, Sargent has also won Group 1 fillies’ features with the likes of Gust Of Wind (Australian Oaks), Kirramosa (Crown Oaks) and Miss Mossman (New Zealand Oaks).
O’Reilly filly Swift Lady is obviously his best chance of success in the elite level this weekend, the grey having won over the Randwick mile in the mud two back before a disappointing ninth to Winx in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) on May 16.
She was beaten over six lengths in the lead-up race, which the bookies are tipping the form of, but is capable of improvement according to Sargent.
Stablemate Champion Stage meanwhile is also a grey, the daughter of Mastercraftsman coming off wins at Newcastle and the Gold Coast over 1600m and 1800m respectively this month.
“Both my girls will be spot on for Saturday,” Sargent said.
“I’ve had a bit of luck with training fillies and the main thing is not to be too hard on them and to keep them happy and healthy.”
Head to Ladbrokes.com.au now to open your account with the country’s leading online bookmaker who will be offering the hottest odds and promos on the Queensland Oaks and Doomben support races this weekend!