Kiwi horseman Tony Pike is eyeing a 2016 Queensland Oaks start next month with his progressive filly Provocative who races in Ipswich on Wednesday aiming for a qualifying win.
The three-year-old daughter of Zabeel is bred to stay and on a mission to make the cut for Eagle Farm’s $500,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) on June 4.
New Zealand-trained fillies are no strangers to Queensland Oaks success including the likes of Ethereal (2011) and Scarlett Lady (2011) getting the job done in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival major in recent times.
Pike’s chance in 2016 however is in danger of missing out on start as she has amassed just $18,278 in prize money to date with two wins from five runs back home in New Zealand.
Her latest start produced a close fourth over the mile on May 7 and this week she debuts down under in midweek meeting at Ipswich Racecourse in Queensland.
Pike has Provocative accepted for the $20,000 Ipswich Cup Marquees Selling Fast QTIS 3YO Handicap (2190m) on Wednesday afternoon, a win in which will help get the Oaks hope’s ratings up.
“She is a hugely talented, nice big staying Zabeel filly and I think she would be a definite contender for the Oaks if we can get her in the field,” Pike told The Courier Mail.
“Hopefully she can win at Ipswich and get more prizemoney so she can force her way into the Oaks.”
There are only nine in the mix for Ipswich Race 5 with Provocative carrying the 58.5kg top weight with Vinnie Colgan booked for the ride on the dominant $1.22 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
She’s well-bred, has winning form at the trip against some nice types at home and looks the class filly to beat on Wednesday.
Despite being far from a confirmed starter, she is also being kept safe in Queensland Oaks betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $13 in futures markets led by the flying Bjorn Baker-trained Gold Coast Bracelet winner Imposing Lass ($6).
The key Queensland Oaks lead-up meanwhile runs at Doomben Racecourse this Saturday and Imposing Miss will look to extend her winning streak to four on the trot when she lines-up favourite in the $175,000 Group 2 The Roses (2000m).
A full field of 16 three-year-old fillies plus five emergences are engaged for The Roses this season with other notable Oaks chances in the mix including John O’Shea’s ATC Oaks runner-up Ambience and the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Falkenberg coming off a fourth in the GC Bracelet.
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