The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
A nice second at Caulfield last weekend was enough to earn Victorian filly Khutulun a Queensland Oaks 2014 late entry with trainer Luke Oliver and connections paying up for her to contest Saturday week’s showdown.
The Soldier’s Tale three-year-old was on trial for a shot at the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), heading the Eagle Farm race card on Saturday May 31, last weekend when racing at home.
A winner of two of her previous four runs the up-and-comer raced for the fifth time in the $80,000 ALH Group Handicap (2000m) and finished second behind Sonntag, beaten one and a half lengths by the 2014 Queensland Derby hope.
It was an effort that impressed trainer Oliver and jockey Ben Melham as Khutulun had to overcome the extreme outside barrier (13 of 13).
“She hit the line really hard on Saturday and didn’t have much luck,” Oliver told AAP.
“She has come through it even better than some of her other runs.”
She’ll now get her chance at Group 1 level in the Oaks where she goes back against her own kind but steps up to the mile and a half in the classic with Oliver on Tuesday confirming owners paid the $11,550 late entry fee.
“She has come through the run really well and Ben Melham has been booked to ride her,” Oliver confirmed.
“So it’s all systems go.”
There is a very dominant favourite in the Queensland Oaks odds meanwhile with the David Vandyke-trained Arabian Gold paying $2 to win after taking out her past three on the trot.
Following back-to-back Sydney wins the daughter of Dubawi travelled to Queensland and blitzed her rivals in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben last Saturday in an ideal Oaks trial.
Oliver though remains confident in his filly saying the hot favourite Arabian Gold could be suspect over the distance.
“Arabian Gold is going to be very hard to beat, but she’s got to be a bit of a query at the distance and I’m pretty confident this filly will run the trip no worries,” he said.
Second favourite in the markets is then Tony Pike’s Kiwi raider Rock Diva ($7) who ran sixth in The Roses but third in the NZ Oaks back in March.
Khutulun then comes in at $8 looking like she’ll love the extra distance of the fillies’ feature.
She makes the trip to Queensland on a flight next Wednesday, when the Queensland Oaks field is set for release, joining the Robert Smerdon-trained duo of Rezoned and Every Faith.
Smerdon has also confirmed an Oaks acceptance for Zabeel filly Rezoned and his daughter of Not A Single Doubt Every Faith.
The pair come via Adelaide form having run first and third respectively last time out in the Group 3 SA Fillies Classic (2500m) at Morphettville on May 10.
Queensland Oaks 2014 nominations originally featured 69 hopefuls but the late entry of Khutulun sees 70 fillies in the mix.
First acceptances close today however and will reduce that number ahead of the final field being released next week.
That makes now the ideal time to lock in the juicy prices open on your Oaks selections now, so visit Ladbrokes.com.au to do just that before markets firm over the next seven days.
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