Lindsay Park’s Crown Oaks runner-up Harlow Gold gets out to a staying distance for the first time since the spring when she lines-up as one of the key chances in the Australian Oaks 2017 field at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Set to run as Royal Randwick Race 6 at 2:35pm (AEST) on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, this autumn’s $1 million Group 1 James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) has attracted a fourteen-starter field.
Drawn out wide in barrier twelve with Mark Zahra to ride is Tavistock filly Harlow Gold who is best known for her second to Lasqueti Spirit at Flemington in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
She hasn’t won a race since last September and is yet to win in black-type company, but caught the eye in her first Sydney run on March 25 at Rosehill when two lengths third to Montoya’s Secret in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
That race last produced an ATC Oaks winner in 2014 with Rising Romance (4th) and Harlow Gold is out to frank the form on the weekend set to relish the step-up in distance.
The Vinery Stud Stakes winner Montoya’s Secret is not among the fillies in this year’s Australian Oaks field, ruled out of the double with a minor leg injury.
The other best out of the lead-up race then is David Brideoake’s third-placegetter Nurse Kitchen who has the outside barrier to overcome in the Australian Oaks.
No filly has jumped wider than barrier 13 to win the Australian Oaks in the past three decades giving Nurse Kitchen plenty of work to do on Saturday with Blake Shinn retaining the ride.
The Kiwi form stood-up last weekend with Baker enjoying his fourth Australian Derby victory with Jon Snow.
He returns seven days later after the Oaks with his Makfi filly Bonneval whose lead-up run back home produced a win in the Group 1 NZ Oaks (2400m) over the mile and a half.
The bookies are taking no chances and have the New Zealand form as the one to follow into the race again after Sofia Rosa won the ATC Oaks last season on the back of an NZ Oaks second.
“She’s a very good filly. She has a lot of ability. She’s been a slow maturer and just come right in the autumn,” co-trainer Forsman told RSN this week.
“She should’ve won her last four races [and] she has won her last three, all at Group level. She just keeps going from strength to strength.
“No fears of running the trip out. The big question marks with her would be racing right-handed and also wet ground. I think the problem [with a Heavy track] is we’re just not sure.”
Other stand-out fillies in the mix this weekend include fellow New Zealander Devise coming off an NZ Oaks second to Bonneval and the Crown Oaks winner Lasqueti Spirit out to improve on her fifth to Jameka in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at weight-for-age last time out.
Check out the full ATC Australian Oaks 2017 field, barriers and jockeys below before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to back your favourites at the best prices.
2017 ATC Oaks Final Field & Barriers
Randwick Race 6 (2:35pm) – 08/04/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||38241×0275||LASQUETI SPIRIT||Lee Curtis||Jay Ford||2||56kg||103|
|2||4x3111x109||LA BELLA DIOSA (NZ)||Mandy & Matt Brown||Jason Collett||1||56kg||103|
|3||1x5P3111||BONNEVAL (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Hugh Bowman||6||56kg||103|
|4||1x01x702||NURSE KITCHEN (NZ)||David Brideoake||Blake Shinn||14||56kg||95|
|5||611562×343||HARLOW GOLD (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||12||56kg||94|
|6||61142332||DEVISE (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Damien Oliver||9||56kg||92|
|7||x2231x5525||LUBITON||Bjorn Baker||Damian Lane||8||56kg||78|
|8||2×571||WAKING MOMENT||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||7||56kg||75|
|9||36×93142||PERFECT RHYME||Ron Leemon||Tye Angland||11||56kg||73|
|10||15130||WHEAL LEISURE||Archie Alexander||James Doyle||10||56kg||70|
|11||78x411x626||CAMBAGE||Scott Singleton||Ms Jess Taylor||4||56kg||68|
|12||4315||HIGH IMPULSE||James Cummings||Tim Clark||5||56kg||64|
|13||41600×3604||LAMMA HILTON||Anthony & Edward Cummings||Tommy Berry||3||56kg||63|
|14||0673||ZAMBESIA||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||13||56kg||–|