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After a number of close calls this campaign Oxford Poet has the fitness edge to score his first Black-Type victory in Saturday’s 2016 Winter Stakes according to trainer Kim Waugh.
A first-up second over 1100m at Randwick behind That’s A Good Idea when just nosed out on the line by Waugh’s Dylan Thomas five-year-old was followed-up by another two close calls this Sydney Winter Racing Carnival.
Two back the gelding ran two lengths away third to Danish Twist in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) before a last start fifth beaten under a length and a half by the Peter Robl-trained Ninth Legion on July 2 in Rosehill’s Listed Civic Stakes (1350m).
This weekend Oxford Poet takes on his last start conqueror again in a rematch back at Rosehill Gardens in the $150,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1400m).
In the Civic Stakes Ninth Legion won on the back of an Eye Liner Stakes victory at Ipswich the run prior and goes up a kilo on the weekend carrying the 60kg top weight in the Winter Stakes.
Oxford Poet meanwhile gets in on the 54kg minimum and is drawn a treat in barrier three with Tim Cark replacing Brenton Avdulla, aboard rival Snippets Land for Peter & Paul Snowden, in the saddle.
The early Winter Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Ninth Legion ($4.40) and brave Civic Stakes runner-up Better Not Blue ($4.40) as co-favourites.
Oxford Poet meanwhile is a Winter Stakes betting market mover backed in from $8 to $6.50 to enjoy the step-up to 1400m and another run at Rosehill where he has won two of his five starts to date.
Waugh is full of confidence and believes the money trail on her galloper could be worth following in the Winter Stakes.
“He was three weeks between runs and jumping from 1100m to 1350m [in the Civic Stakes],” Waugh told The Daily Telegraph.
“I just think he was a bit fresh and when Sammy [Clipperton on Ninth Legion] went up on his outside early in the race I think he wanted to get a bit keen.
“It made a difference over the concluding stages but this time he’s nice and fit.”
Winter Stakes success will see Oxford Poet, a multiple stakes placegetter, enjoy his first Listed win and break a winning drought going back to May last year at Hawkesbury.
“He’s going really, really well and rarely runs a bad race,” Waugh added.
The other best fancied in betting include Chris Waller’s Spear Chief Handicap winner at Eagle Farm last start Tales Of Grimm ($7) and stablemate Marenostro ($7) drawn at opposite ends of the Winter Stakes field in barriers 10 and one respectively.
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