Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
While there’s sure to be plenty of hype over the two Eagle Farm races offering a Stradbroke Handicap ballot exemption to the winners, the official marquee race of the weekend is the 2013 Queensland Oaks– tips and betting picks from the Races.com.au crew for which are listed right here.
Lighting up the Brisbane track as Race 7 at 3:40pm (AEST) on Saturday this year’s $400,000 Group 1 XXXX Gold Queensland Oaks (2400m) is shaping up as an intriguing edition with a number of progressive and untapped hopes coming to town to take on the only previous Group 1 winner in the field Dear Demi.
Originally Clarry Conners’ Crown Oaks champion who also beat many of these in the Doomben Roses two weeks back opened as the clear favourite in the Queensland Oaks odds.
Punters have lost a little bit of love for her however with doubts over her ability to hold them out again after also running last Saturday in a big one against the boys when sixth in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).
Still Conners is confident knowing the progression of runs has worked before.
Dear Demi is now out to $3.60 (from $3.40) to score her second Group 1 trophy and she shares that price with a filly she has beaten three times previously and run one behind only once, the Pat Carey-trained Gondokoro.
A nicely-bred staying type being a daughter of Zabeel, Gondokoro has been well backed in the Queensland Oaks betting markets moving in from $4 to $3.60 to turn the tables on Dear Demi after her narrow second in The Roses.
She was well beaten by her in the spring in the Crown Oaks (7th) but did finish off ahead when fourth to Dear Demi’s fifth in the Vinery Stud Stakes in early April.
Dear Demi won the next round when second, Gondokoro third, in the mud at Randwick for the Australian Oaks and so it’s another highly-spruiked showdown on Saturday.
But these two fillies aren’t the only ones in the field, obviously, with 16 other hopefuls all in with a chance of taking down the tall poppies.
While no other runner is under $10 in the latest markets there’s a logjam of them under $20 including Express Power ($10) in gate two, Gai Waterhouse’s undefeated market mover Porcellanus ($10) going up in class, the Peter Moody-trained Victorian Miss Zenella (411) and The Roses third placegetter Vaquera ($13).
UPDATE: Express Power has been scratched due to an elevated temperature.
So do the bookies have it right in the Crown Oaks this year? Will Dear Demi complete the Crown Oaks – QLD Oaks double? Or is there an upset around the corner?
Don’t bet blind! Check out our exclusive tips on the classic below then visit bookmaker.com.au to lock in our suggestions or your own selections for the Queensland Oaks at the best prices in the country.
#1 Dear Demi ($3.60)
This is the rank horse in the race as a former Group 1 winner over the 2500m so proven to handle the mile and a half in a Melbourne Cup Carnival. Should get a gun run from gate three and beat her biggest dangers in The Roses two back. Did run last Saturday against the boys so three in as many weekends might have taken its toll? We think she’s right and can handle that and the wet if that’s the case.
#15 Miss Zenella ($11)
Juicy addition to the Queensland Oaks quinella for mine, and Peter Moody does knows how to win these Brissy Group 1’s with his female runners. Barrier 12 might not look ideal on paper but historically it’s one of the best barriers producing three winners since 1983. Is New Zealand-bred and that works in her favour statistically two with the past three QLD Oaks winners all NZ-bred. Also has one of the best Win Rates in the field with 40%, is only lightly-raced (five starts) but bred to stay being by Zabeel and her 3.5 length win at Sale over 1700m last start mightn’t have been against much but still caught our attention.
#4 Gondokoro ($3.60)
Loves to race this one and also loves to finish just off Dear Demi so that’s what we’re tipping her to do again here! She’s the one the punters want but firming in from $4 to equal $3.60 favourite and has shown plenty of promise. Just think if she hasn’t beat them yet could be getting over it? Plenty in her favour though including barrier one which last year’s winner Quintessential won from and it is the best gate in the past 30 years – in the wet though is the rails still where you want to be at the Farm? Also by Zabeel so NZ-bred which (see above) are both ticks. Could “surprise” after narrow The Roses loss over 400m less.
Roughie We Like
#11 Magic In Motion ($41)
Told you they were rough! But even at $41 we think Magic In Motion could be worth a sneaky place bet in this one. Sure they’ve got the outside draw in a big field (18 of 18) but if it’s muddy and if jockey Glen Colless is in form then they can get into an okay position and come home strong. Back-to-back Ipswich wins for this Magic Albert filly in April then May over 1350m and 1620m before running fourth in The Roses from gate 11 beaten only 1.5 lengths. Rob Heathcote-trained and improving, not really sure other than the gate why she’s so juicy.
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