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The money is coming for Vegas Jewel to steal the show in Saturday’s Australasian Oaks 2020 in an open edition of the Morphettville Group 1.
The firmer out of the bunch is the Mark Kavanagh-trained Vegas Jewel backed in from $11 to $7.50 in Australasian Oaks betting.
Drawn a treat in barrier four with Jason Holder to ride, the filly is a three-year-old daughter of Kavanagh’s 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.
She was in excellent form in Melbourne last spring including a Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) second on VRC Derby Day and is third-up on the weekend.
Vegas Jewel is out to atone for her two unplaced lead-up runs this prep, the latest seeing her beaten nearly eight lengths in Morphettville’s Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m).
She had no luck from a wide gate that run and from a better barrier over further distance on Saturday, Vegas Jewel will be finishing strongly and presenting as the late danger.
Markets are still led by Affair To Remember at $5, the in-form Dan O’Sullivan-trained Toronado filly also drawn well in barrier five for jockey John Allen.
A winner at Sandown-Lakeside carrying 59kg from barrier 13 of 14 two back, she was last seen finishing under a length back for third in the VRC Sires Guineas (1600m) on April 18 at Caulfield.
She was also out wide that day in 13 of 14 and looks like getting a lovely run from her favourable barrier this weekend stepping up in class.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller won the Schweppes Oaks in 2017 with Egg Tart and returns this season with three genuine hopes including the $6 second elect Toffee Tongue.
Jumping from barrier three, the Kiwi-bred daughter of Tavistock remains a maiden after eight starts but has been racing in excellent form with four straight seconds leading-up to the Oaks.
The latest on April 11 was in Randwick’s Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) run on a Heavy (8) and on Soft going over the 2000m this weekend she looks a huge hope of securing her maiden victory.
Waller’s other runners are Nudge ($9) who ran third in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and fourth in the ATC Oaks this season and highly-spruiked last start Flemington winner Betcha Flying ($9) drawn wider in barrier 11 and 13 respectively.
Former local horseman, the now Pakenham-based Phillip Stokes, meanwhile is in search of a third Australasian Oaks success following his previous victories with Marju Snip (2006) and Maybe Discreet (2013).
Stokes saddles-up Selica ($19) who will relish the rain in Adelaide, but who has work to do from a wide barrier.
The Makfi filly was runner-up last time out in the Auraria Stakes narrowly beaten and should appreciate the step-up in distance for her rematch with the winner of that key Oaks’ lead-up, Silent Sovereign who is at $9.50 to do the double.
“She’s had a good campaign leading into this,” Stokes told AAP this week.
“I thought her run the other day was very good. Through no fault of the jockey (apprentice Kayla Crowther) she just got there a bit soon.
“She will handle the step up to 2000 metres and if it’s wet, she will handle that too.
“Everything is good for her.
“She has always given me the impression she will definitely run the Oaks trip while the others (Marju Snip and Maybe Discreet) just did it as three-year-olds on class.
“They weren’t really stayers whereas this filly is.”
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