Dwayne Dunn has picked up the Queensland Oaks 2016 ride aboard the Robert Smerdon-trained Dulverton this Saturday at Eagle Farm replacing the suspended Mark Zahra.
Zahra was originally booked to partner the Commands filly in the $500,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) last Saturday.
Heavy rainfall and storms saw the abandonment of last weekend’s Brisbane meet however and the Queensland Oaks was added to the Stradbroke Handicap Day program this Saturday.
The rescheduling sees Zahra miss out on a ride in the three-year-old fillies’ classic as he starts a suspension.
In his place is Dunn shooting for his maiden Queensland Oaks winning ride on Dulverton who is out to atone for her last start 10th in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 21.
Dunn’s other big ride on the Eagle Farm card on the final Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival meeting is on the fellow Smerdon-trained Under The Louvre in the $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Fifth in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) in the wet at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival, Dulverton is tipped to appreciate the step up in distance on Saturday despite not having won over further than a mile to date.
She is one of three final Queensland Oaks acceptors for the Caulfield-based Smerdon who is also represented by the in-form Chabaud and the fourth emergency Zafiki who is unlikely to gain a run.
Dulverton is drawn a treat in barrier two, while her last start winning stablemate Chabaud has work to do from a wider gate (14).
Fifth to Sofia Rosa in Sydney on April 9 in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) when beaten only one and a half lengths, Lookin At Lucky filly Chabaud has had two runs since.
The latest was on May 21 in Adelaide when she enjoyed a smart win in the Group 3 SA Fillies Classic (2500m) from a double-digit barrier and leading Queensland apprentice James Orman is booked for the ride in the Oaks.
Smerdon is confident both of his confirmed runners are still spot-on for their Oaks bids despite the extra week between runs due to the inclement weather.
“The delay shouldn’t be a problem as everyone’s in the same boat,” Smerdon, who was in Melbourne until Tuesday, told AAP.
“You’ve got the same competition so I don’t see how it will change things.
“They haven’t missed a beat.
“They both galloped on the course proper this morning [Tuesday].
“I wasn’t there but those in charge were happy with what they did and the way they did it.”
Bjorn Baker’s The Roses third placegetter Imposing Lass is early favourite in Queensland Oaks betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to win her fifth race at start number seven.
Her last start conqueror, The Roses winner Kebede, is also in the mix drawn well in gate five as she looks for The Roses – Oaks double last achieved by Scarlett Lady (2011).
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