New Zealand trainer Donna Logan is looking at an ATC Oaks 2016 bid with her progressive filly Valley Girl this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Logan trains in partnership with Chris Gibbs at Ruakaka in NZ and won the $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick two years ago with Rising Romance (2014).
This season Logan could shoot for another win in the classic, held on Day 2 of The Championships on April 9, with her daughter of Mastercraftsman Valley Girl.
The filly has won three of her six career starts to date at home including the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) last time out at Te Rapa in mid-February.
Her strong effort in that has Logan convinced the up-and-comer can be competitive down under during an Australian Oaks bid.
Current all-in Australian Oaks odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Jameka ($7) and Risque ($8).
The Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka won the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the spring and is set to return to racing this Saturday at Flemington in the $150,000 Group 3 The Vanity (1200m).
Formerly prepared in New Zealand, the now David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Darci Brahma filly Risque meanwhile debuted in Australia last weekend at Caulfield on CF Orr Stakes Day.
Running for the first time since her Group 1 NZ Thousand Guineas (1600m) win at home last November she caught the eye first-up and showed her class with a win over Mossin’ Around in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).
Valley Girl meanwhile pays $17 in all-in Australian Oaks betting and is confirmed for a trip to Sydney.
“Valley Girl will definitely come now,” she said according to AAP.
“I’m excited about her especially as she beat a weight-for-age field (in the Herbie Dyke Stakes).
“She is the first filly to win the race and she will run in the New Zealand Derby and then come over for the Oaks.
“I’d like to win another.”
The Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) runs at Ellerslie on March 5 and was won last season by Murray Baker’s subsequent ATC Derby – Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan.
Logan saddled-up last season’s NZ Derby runner-up Volkstok’n’barrell who went on to win the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney that March before his third in the ATC Derby.
The now four-year-old son of Tavistock raced first-up in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa over the weekend, but only managed to cross a well-beaten sixth behind Xtravagant.
Stephen Autridge prepares three-year-old Pentire colt Xtravagant who is also Australian-bound this autumn and who is the current $4.80 favourite for the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.
Logan is still to be convinced Volkstok’n’barrell is up to a trip to Oz again this campaign despite nominating him for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during Randwick’s The Championships on April 2 and 9.
“Volkstok’n’barrell had to cover a lot of extra ground [in the NRM Spring] so all in all we were happy with the run,” Logan said.
“He will run in a Group One mile race at Otaki and then we will decide if he comes back to Sydney.”
Also nominated for the 2016 Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth is stablemate Hasselhoof, another son of Tavistock.
The four-year-old was last seen running fourth at Randwick behind Bullpoint over the mile in his Australian debut on February 6 and runs again this Saturday in the $1250,000 Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m).
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