Saturday, 2 June 2012
: This afternoon's G1 Queensland Oaks over 2400m at Eagle Farm once again looks like going the way of a New Zealand-trained runner after a strong representation accepted on Wednesday.
| Upset chance Dowager Queen|
Photo by Racing and Sports
New Zealand trained fillies have won the past two renewals Scarlett Lady (2011) and Miss Keepsake (2010), however in recent times the “isle of the long white cloud” has long held a dominating edge in one of Brisbane's winter racing features.
The Queensland Oaks can boast such smart kiwi fillies as Travel Light, Giovana, and Caulfield-Melbourne Cup heroine Ethereal amongst its past winners so this afternoon's kiwi fillies have much to live up to.
New Zealand Oaks winner Miss Artistic
rates as the horse to beat on Timeform
Trained by Shaune Ritchie, the filly has won four of her 13 race starts including the Sunline Vase over 2000m at her start prior to taking the NZ Oaks. She ran to a Timeform rating of 110 in the Oaks victory, making her one of the higher rated fillies of the race in the last 20 years.Miss Artistic
showed great courage to win the NZ Oaks. Always handily placed, she took the lead after turning for home and stalled off all challenges to win narrowly from Zurella with other rivals today Quintessential
and Poste Restante
in third and fourth place respectively.
Since the NZ Oaks, Miss Artistc was given a brief 49 day layoff before resuming at the Gold Coast in heavy ground on Hollindale Stakes day in the Gold Coast Bracelet over 1800m where she finished fourth to Scorpio Queen.
Then last time out she improved her rating sharply to 105 when a closing second to Invest in the G3 Doomben Roses over 2000m, the main lead up race for the Queensland Oaks.
That run has her close to peak fitness and I can see race rider Chris Munce giving her a sweet run just off the pace.
Should she be successful, Munce will stretch his Oaks winning run to five victories easily making him the most successful rider in Oaks history. Munce has already won the race four times, one more than the great Mick Dittman and late Andy Tindall who each won the race on three occasions.
Munce has been successful on Giovana (2000), Zagalia (2003), Vouvray (2004) and Miss Keepsake (2010).
The hardest for Miss Artistic
to beat are fellow kiwis Quintessential and Poste Restante and both have done very well in the Brisbane winter sunshine.
Quintessential has drawn the ace and leading rider Damien Browne is certain to make full use of that advantage.
Quintessential got a long way back in the NZ Oaks. She was conceding Miss Artistic
a long start from the home turn at Trentham but managed to cut the margin down to just under three lengths at the judge.
She also had excellent form in New Zealand in other fillies' races. She too took a short break after the NZ Oaks re-appearing in the Gunsynd Classic over 1600m at Eagle Farm in early May. That race proved too short for her but in finishing fourth she showed enough to suggest the race will improve her fitness wise.
Last time out she raced in the Doomben Roses over 2000m again finding the line hard after covering plenty of additional ground during the race. It was a standout effort.
Currently Timeform Rated 105p, with extra fitness combined with a return to 2400m on the spacious Eagle Farm course, I am expecting Quintessential to take that figure higher this afternoon. She rates as the clear main danger.
Fourth placed NZ Oaks runner Poste Restante comes through a slightly different form line to her kiwi inmates.
At her first run in Australia, she was an eye catching third to Brambles in the Rough Habit Plate when racing the “boys”.
That run earned her a Timeform rating of 104p with more to come, especially at the 2400m of this afternoon's contest.
In form filly Invest
, Timeform rated 106 and winner of the G1 Australasian Oaks in Adelaide and the G3 Doomben Roses at her last two starts will need plenty of luck this afternoon if she is to add another G1 to her CV.
Unfortunately Invest has a horror barrier draw 22 placing her at a disadvantage compared to the aforementioned fillies.
Untried at 2400m, Invest gives the impression she will handle the distance but in a race where there is little separating the main chances she will need everything to go right to be in the finish.
Other fillies not far away from the main chances are Scorpio Queen
and Dowager Queen
Following her Bracelet victory at the Gold Coast, Scorpio Queen was less than a length behind Invest in the Doomben Roses running on strongly from fourteenth on the home turn. It was an eye catching run and indicated she would be even better suited by the additional 400m today.
Dowager Queen who was sold for $710,000 during the week brings solid form lines to the race at her best.
It is worth remembering Dowager Queen was runner up to crack filly Mosheen in the G1 VRC Oaks (2500m) last Spring and although her form of late has been below that mark, a change of trainer and environment may see her return to somewhere near her best.
Enjoy a very competitive Queensland Oaks.