With Tuesday’s surprise result in the Melbourne Cup, punters will be looking to hit back in the VRC Oaks this Thursday and have narrowed the field of twelve down to three main chances. There’s little in the betting between Sacred Eye, Jameka and Ambience with all bar one other run-ner, Pasadena Girl, well into double figures. If history is any guide, punters should be confident heading into the 2500m Group 1 with eight of the past twelve winners of the Oaks being the favourite. During that time, the longest priced winner has been 6/1. Wide or wider draws, have proven little obstacle either with four of the last six winners coming from gate 7 or wider.
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1.PASADENA GIRL – H Bowman (5)
Has found herself a few lengths off some good fillies her last couple of outings, finishing fourth in both the 1000 Guineas and G2 The Vase behind Stay With Me and Jameka respectively. Settled midfield on the fence and behind the eventual winner in the Vase, where she didn’t appear to look all that comfortable around the tight home turn of the Valley circuit. Didn’t give up the chase in the straight and will be in the box-seat here from the jump and will go well.
2. JAMEKA – D Oliver (8)
Yet to finish outside of the top four in her eight starts, two of which she has won including her most recent outing when taking on the males, The Vase at Moonee Valley. As the track played that day, she was always in the right spot in the run but did have to start chasing from 600m out. Third home in the race was subsequent VRC Derby winner Tarzino and her previous start saw her run second to Stay With Me who was good against the older mares in Saturday’s G1 Myer Classic. There’s good form all around here at the moment and although she’s drawn a bit awkwardly here in eight, her record can’t be ignored.
3. SACRED EYE – R Moore (9)
Just had to ease off the eventual winner’s heels at the 400m in the G2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m), and then took a stride or two to hit top gear. She finished second to Badawiya in that race but made amends at her next start, only the fourth of her career, with a dominant win in the G3 Norman Robinson, defeating Lizard Island and Etymolo-gy by a length – the latter running second in the Derby on Saturday. That run was almost three weeks ago now and drawn out a little wider than ideal however, she is a highly promising filly, bred to stay the trip and with the right kind of form on the board.
4. AMBIENCE – J McDonald (10)
As the short-priced favourite, she settled just off the pace in the Ethereal Stakes (2000m) two starts back and presented well at the top of the straight however, the Godolphin runner cost herself some ground by wanting to lay in several times in the straight, and finished third behind Dawnie Perfect. She then found another perfect spot in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes (2000m) before easing off the leading pair’s heels at the 300m and extending away to win by a commanding 3.5 lengths. Meets a stronger field here but it was a very good style of win in a race where the victor has an outstanding record in the Oaks. Great preparation for this race and is sure to run well.
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5. HONESTA – C Williams (12)
Another consistent filly who improves with each run. She failed by the barest of margins to pick up the in-form Speak Fondly when second in the G1 Flight Stakes (1600m), before surprisingly, taking up a more forward position than her previous runs int he G3 Ethereal Stakes. Despite being under pressure on the turn, the John Thompson trained filly continued to show good fight in the straight, beating home all bar Dawnie Perfect, with Ambience third. Good effort last time all considered and despite the draw, the $13 looks good an each-way option for those looking for value.
6. DAWNIE PERFECT – J Cassidy (2)
Trainer, owner and Jockey combined to win this race with Dear Demi and with this being the Cas-sidy’s last spring carnival before retirement, he’ll be hoping to go out on a high with another feature win for close connections. She swept home from well back in the field to claim the Ethereal Stakes two starts back after com-ing off a Kembla Maiden win, before starting a leading chance in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes. She settled midfield in the Wakeful and eased out turning to present well at the top of the straight but as it turned out, that wasn’t the best place to be making your run from that day and she finished fourth, 4.1 lengths behind Ambience. Should get a cheap run here from gate two and off of her last two starts, a case for her running a place could be made.
7. THE GREY FLASH – C Parnham (4)
Only the one win from eight starts thus far for this Robbie Laing trained filly – the Group 3 Sires Produce in Adelaide earlier this year, but her recent form hasn’t delivered on the promise that run suggested she may have. She’s finished down the track in both the Ethereal Stakes and Wakeful Stakes at her last two starts, behind many of the same horses she meets again here. Hard to see how she’s turns the tables on them here.
8. MUZYKA – B Avdulla (1)
Finally cracked her maiden win two starts ago at Wyong, taking out the 2100m event in by com-prehensive 5.3 lengths. Off of the win, trainer Gerald Ryan sent her to Melbourne for Saturday’s Wakeful where, given the significant rise in class, she performed very well in running third (4 lengths) behind Ambience. Coming into her own now that her races are getting over a distance but his is harder again and would think the race may have just come for her a few months too soon.
9. RITZY – K McEvoy (6)
Did beat Dawnie Perfect home three starts back in a Kembla Grange Maiden however unlike that horse, this Anthony Cummings trained filly doesn’t have appeared to improved enough to worry most of her competitors on Thursday. She had her chance at Ballarat two starts back in a BM 64 (2000m), finishing fourth (1.9 lengths) to Carbon Cut before being well-accounted for in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes when finishing eighth. Would be surprised to see her figure in the finish given her last couple of runs.
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10. ZARABEEL – S Baster (7)
Still a maiden after eight starts but is improving slightly at each outing. She settled a long way back when seventh to Dawnie Perfect in the Ethereal Stakes two stars back and again, had plenty of work to do from the tail of the field when finishing fifth (5 lengths) to Ambience in Saturday’s Wakeful. Not a bad effort on Saturday when the track didn’t favour her racing pattern at all but still, hard to see her winning this off of it.
11. DULVERTON – D Dunn (3)
Only stepped out for her first race back in September of this year, and in her four starts to date, has shown indication of some ability. She won her second race start at Hamilton, a maiden over 1600m, before getting back and not fig-uring in the Edward Manifold Stakes won by Badawiya. Her most recent start saw her close well for fifth (2.65 lengths) against the males in the Geelong Classic (2500m) won by Extra Choice. Had to have a crack at this race off of that effort but another who may be find this a case of too much too soon.
12. PRINCESS ARIA – M Walker (11)
Still yet to figure in the placings after eight race starts, the most recent of which saw her finish twelfth of fifteen in Saturday’s Wakeful. We’ve already had a big upset this week with Pirate Of Penzance winning the Cup, wouldn’t think it’ll be two for the week with this filly winning.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Couple of smart fillies come together here in what shapes up as a competitive editions of the Oaks. It’ll be interesting to see how they sought themselves out into the first two with no clear-cut leader(s) entered. Jameka is good enough to stake her claim early in piece, as is Ambience, and could see both fillies heading over from wider gates and take matter into their own hands. Sacred Eye was good last start and the form from her races have held up exceptionally win, as proven by Jameka and the pair of the obvious choice however a couple at odds may be worth a snip. Pasadena Girl has been beaten favourite her past couple but can bounce back here from gate five and the perfect run. Would also be prepared to forgive Dawnie Perfect to some degree last start and her previous ef-forts reads well – she’s a great value chance at odds.
2. SACRED EYE
3. PASADENA GIRL
4. DAWNIE PERFECT