Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
With the likely non-acceptance of main danger Telepathic in Saturday’s 2014 Queensland Oaks, trainer David Vandyke is more confident than ever of success from hot favourite Arabian Gold.
Donna Logan’s Kiwi filly Telepathic is an unlikely acceptor for this weekend’s $400,000 Group 1 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m), the daughter of Mossman instead likely to take on the boys in Saturday week’s Queensland Derby after her luckless fifth in the Grand Prix Stakes on 10,000 Day.
She still sits at the $6.50 (doubtful) second favourite in Queensland Oaks odds however with the bookies not taking any chances in the futures markets.
Oaks betting meanwhile is firmly led by Sydney-based grey Arabian Gold, the Dubawi filly at a short $2 even before the final field is released on Wednesday.
A winner of her past three on the trot, Arabian Gold shortened notably in the markets after making the trip north to Queensland last start on May 17 to post a tidy one and a quarter length victory in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m).
That followed back-to-back Randwick wins over the same distance at Group 3 level, and convinced trainer Vandyke and connections she was ready for the step up to Group 1 company again despite some queries over the 2400m.
“It’s a Group 1,” Vandyke told The Daily Telegraph.
“She’s reaching the end of her three-year-old career and as a four-year-old she’ll be up against a different level of horse.
“She’ll be up against Europeans, so the difference between Saturday’s 2400m and any other 2400m she runs in the rest of her career will be fairly significant.”
It will be Arabian Gold’s second elite level run too following the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington last Cup Carnival where she ran a credible sixth behind Kirramosa.
“Her run in the VRC Oaks last spring was fair,” Vandyke said.
“She was beaten just over four lengths, and that performance would make her hard to beat in the Queensland Oaks.
“I think on form she’ll be hard to beat (on Saturday), despite the fact she can’t get a strong 2400m in my opinion.”
Vandyke admitted that The Roses at Doomben was the race they’d had in their minds for Arabian Gold this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but that she was still flying and fresh enough to back-up in the Oaks.
“The Roses was the race we set her for, and the Oaks was only a consideration if she won the Roses,” he said.
Her form around some of the year’s better fillies also has boosted Vandyke’s confidence including her Wakeful Stakes fourth leading up to the Crown Oaks where she was just off the likes of May’s Dream (2nd) and Solicit (3rd).
“She has raced against some of the best like Guelph, she beat Solicit in Melbourne, she raced against May’s Dream, who came out and won an Australasian Oaks,” he said.
“She’s raced against some fair horses in the Adrian Knox and more so in the Frank Packer Plate.
“She hasn’t sidestepped any of the better three-year-olds. (What beats her) will be luck in running.”
Vandyke is shooting for his first major race win after a number of close calls over the years including Lamasery and Prince Cheri in the 2012 and 2014 The Metropolitan respectively.
“I can tell you I’m sick of getting beaten in them,” Vandyke said.
“I don’t know what it would mean because I’ve never won one, but I’m certainly keen to find out.”
All going well this weekend and Vandyke will also put her in the mix for the $500,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day on June 7 for which she’s the $6 second favourite for behind Grand Prix winner Vilanova ($5).
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