Jameka out to better Winx in Oaks. Jameka could achieve something the great Winx and Lucia Valentina were unable to, and win the ATC Oaks as race favourite Winx was 7/4 last year when second to Gust Of Wind, whilst Lucia Valentina was odds-on when third to Rising Romance in 2014. Jameka, who ran second in last week’s ATC Derby, is $3.50 and clear top pick of punters for the 2400m feature to be run Saturday, just in advance of Happy Hannah ($4.60) who will be out to stretch the success of the Snowden Racing camp this carnival. New Zealand fillies Capella ($8.00) and Valley Girl ($9.00) are the only other runners under double figure odds.
1. JAMEKA – D Oliver (16)
She continued her sensation form this prep, beating home all the boys – bar Tavago in last week’s ATC Derby. Won the VRC Oaks (on a wet track) over 2500m at her fifth run in, just as she is here – and form is arguably stronger.
2. SINGLE GAZE – K O’Hara (9)
The little Canberra filly tackled her first trip beyond a mile with great success last start, taking out the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). Secured a lovely run in transit last start and was strong to the line, so (unlike last start) hesitant to dismiss her over this trip. She’s as tough as teak and in winning form – good combo for this race.
3. HONESTA – C Williams (8)
Finished behind Single Gaze her last two outings, the most recent a sixth (2.6 lengths) in the Vinery Stud Stakes where she finished well after settling back in the field form her wide gate. Finished second in the VRC Oaks last prep – with stronger lead up form, but like then, the likelihood of a wet track will see her chances improve.
4. SACRED EYE – N Hall (1)
On the quick back-up after finishing fourth in last week’s Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m), which was won by 40-1 bolter – Diamond Made. Stuck on well enough after last week under 59kgs settling just off the pace, and will get a nice run here with cover from the inside gate, along with a nice drop in weight. The Hayes/Dabernig filly ran seventh in the VRC Oaks – her only trip beyond 2000m and on a wet track. To see her included among the hopes, would like to see a firmer surface.
5. AMBIENCE – J McDonald (3)
Held her ground behind Single Gaze two runs back when fifth in the G3 Arrowfield (1600m) before running tenth to the same horse in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). Not an encouraging run last time out but did win the G2 Wakeful Stakes followed by a third in the VRC Oaks – both on heavy tracks, and would be hopping for the predicted rain to fall to have any chance of turning her recent form around.
6. VALLEY GIRL – B Prebble (10)
New Zealand filly in solid form – winning two in her native land – including a G1 over 2000m before running a close-up fifth in the NZ Derby – which has proven good form. Her first local start resulted in second (.8 lengths) to Single Gaze in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). Brett Prebble goes on, no dramas with the trip and softer track – looks one of the stronger hopes.
7. SOFIA ROSA – J Bowman (12)
Another NZ visitor who last start, went within a lip of winning her third consecutive race when beaten a lip in the NZ Oaks by Fanatic. Building a very impressive strike rate and the form from across the Tasman is stacking up well for this race.
No reason she will not run well.
8. DIAMOND MADE – G Schofield (5)
Not a bad way to break her maiden status last week – with a big finish in the G3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m). Strong effort last start and if you go on that run alone – and ignore the previous six starts, all of which have been in Maiden Class –you could build a case for her. But prefer to be sticking with the more consistent types.
9. ALASKAN ROSE – D Dunn (6)
Won both of her first two races, but still searching for an elusive third in seven runs since. Got very close to breaking that run last start where, as the 3/1 favourite, G3 Adrian Knox (2000m), she finished strongly from well back in the field to run second (1 length) behind Diamond Made. That was her first try at beyond a mile and it was a very promising one – and builds on handy performances in Group races in Melbourne. Step up in class again – but could turn in a stronger effort than her $34 price suggests.
10. CAPELLA – O Bosson (15)
New Zealand filly who brought her strong from across the Tasman with her when finishing fifth (1.8 lengths) behind Single Gaze in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). That was her first run in three weeks and will be better for it as her run seemed to peak the last bit in the Vinery. Start prior saw her finishing within a half a length from the winner in the NZ Derby (2400m), and she appears on song to go just as close here.
11. CHABAUD – T Berry (2)
Won at Moonee Valley and then in Tasmania for the Listed Oaks (2100m) before a month’s break and a strong finished effort in 3yo Open company at Caulfield a fortnight ago. Has earned her shot at this race with recent efforts but here, takes on the best of her generation for the first time, and would think she’ll find them too good.
12. SELF ESTEEM – M Zahra (13)
Good front-running effort against the older horses two runs back and took up a similar role in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at her only run since where again, stuck on very well finishing fourth (1.5 lengths) to Single Gaze. As she did in the Vinery, she’s drawn gate 13 and will shoot over again to lead – but has some handy fillies to hold off – especially when she’s untried over the trip.
13. HAPPY HANNAH – B Shinn (7)
Lightly raced, well-bred and highly promising filly who earned her favouritism for this race with a strong third (1 length) to Single Gaze, closing from the second half of the field, in the Viner Stud Stakes. Hard to imagine a better trial for this race and as she continues to learn her craft, wouldn’t think from gate seven she has to get back that far this time around.
Ticks a lot of boxes.
14. BELIEVE – K McEvoy (11)
Winner of her first two races in good style, and applied herself well when making the jump to Group Company at her third, running a neck to Hattori Hanzo in the Phar Lap Stakes. Not much went right at her only run since, when caught wide in the early stages of the Vinery Stud Stakes and having to work to the position outside of the leader. No surprise to see her weaken the last 100m and run ninth. Think she can improve on that effort with a sweeter run in transit and a rough place chance at odds.
15. ZASORCERESS – D Lane (4) (1st EM)
Maiden galloper who led the field in last week’s Adrian Knox Stakes, kicked off the top of the rise to set up a break before being caught in the final stages by Diamond Made and Alaskan Rose. That was her first run in three weeks – her first beyond a mile and clearly her best effort to date.
16. AURORA’S STAR – (14) (2nd EM)
Mixing her form up the past couple and was well-accounted for in the G3 Adrian Knox where she finished tenth (7.7 lengths), after weakening quickly in the straight from the lead position. Can’t win this off of that effort.
RACE OVERVIEW –
The favorite’s record in this race, combined with the outside gate, have me baulking at the $3.50 about Jameka. Would much prefer to stick with the NZ fillies on an each-way basis – Valley Girl and Capella. Both were very good in the Vinery and should be better for that run. Happy Hannah’s run in the same race was hard to miss and her timing for this seems perfect.