Local horseman Anthony Cummings is confident his lightly-raced filly Believe can improve on her last start run and step up to the 2400m with a worry in Saturday’s 2016 Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick.
The three-year-old daughter of Fastent Rock has just her fifth career start on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ when taking on a capacity field of her own kind in the $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m).
A winner of two of her runs so far in non-black-type company she stepped up to stakes class for the first time at Rosehill on March 12 taking on the colts and geldings in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m).
Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy she finished an eye-catching third behind Hattori Hanzo defeated only a quarter length.
Cummings then threw her in the deep end back at the track a fortnight later, Believe running in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
It was her first look at further than 1500m and she could only manage to finish just under five lengths away ninth to Single Gaze, the Nick Olive-trained winner at $15 to win again in the Australian Oaks this weekend.
Those current Australian Oaks betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks winner from last spring Jameka ($3.60) who has again drawn wide in the outside alley.
Believe meanwhile is one of the genuine outsiders in the Australian Oaks odds this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival paying $51 for the upset.
That is despite having defeated subsequent Vinery Stud Stakes third placegetter Happy Hannah on debut back in February at Beaumont over 1300m.
Peter & Paul Snowden’s More Than Ready filly Happy Hannah is the $4.60 second favourite for the Oaks on the weekend, but with only four lengths between her and Believe in the Vinery Cummings sees his filly as over the odds.
“She didn’t finish far off them last time in the Vinery and had a torrid run,” Cummings, who trained the 1998 Australian Oaks winner On Air, told AAP.
“She was worst out of the barriers then was three deep and couldn’t get a clear passage. She had no peace at all so I think it was a good run.”
McEvoy, chasing his first Australian Oaks winning ride, retains his association with Believe on Saturday with the duo drawn in barrier 11, which could become 10 if the first emergency Zasorceress (4) fails to gain a start.
Just one Australian Oaks winner has jumped from a double digit barrier since Rose Archway won from 12 of 12 back in 2001, when Daffodil did it from 11 of 18 in 2009.
Cummings knows the draw isn’t ideal, but thinks Believe ticks plenty of other boxes and wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the finish in the mile and a half classic.
“The barrier is a challenge but the ground should suit,” he said.
“The distance is not an issue.”
After Jameka, who comes off an ATC Derby second from last Saturday over the same track and distance, and Happy Hannah the other three single-figure Oaks fancies are all New Zealand-trained: Capella ($6.50), Valley Girl ($8.50) and Sofia Rosa ($9).
To back Believe at a roughies’ price, or to lock in your other ATC Oaks betting selections, head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!