EAGLE FARM PREVIEW May 30, 2009 QUEENSLAND OAKS (2400M) Race 6, 3.20pm (QLD time) While the Group 1 Queensland Oaks is ranked as a second tier Classic behind the VRC Oaks and AJC Australian Oaks, it has provided some wonderful winners who have trained on to have a significant impact on Australian racing. The Queensland Oaks was first run in 1951 – 90 years after the first VRC Oaks – when the Queensland Turf Club conducted the race in the spring (switched to winter in 1958). In 1955, Evening Peal won the Oaks, and 12 months later won the 1956 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington. The Queensland Oaks is a race that can mould a career, like in 1996 when Arctic Scent won, and then went on to win the 1996 Caulfield Cup; and in 2001, when little known New Zealand filly Ethereal not only won the Oaks, but went on to win the Caulfield– Melbourne Cup double. At the other end of the spectrum, the great Surround completed her amazing 1976-77 season – when she also won the Cox Plate, Caulfield Guineas, Orr Stakes and the VRC Oaks and AJC Oaks – by winning the Oaks. The race also has been a family affair. Denise’s Joy won the Oaks in 1967; her daughter Joie Denise won it in 1995; and her granddaughter Miss Danehill won in 1999. Maybe 2009 will offer another twist when Bart Cummings’s maiden filly Think Money gets the money. Think Money has been placed in seven of her 16 starts, but importantly, one of those placings was second behind Daffodil in the AJC Oaks
(2400m) at Randwick on April 18. Her strong finishing fifth in the G3 Doomben Roses (2020m) on May 16 was an outstanding pointer to winning this race. The trip is ideal and her fitness levels will be improved. Purple represents the class, as she is the only filly to win at Group 1 level – the Storm Queen Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day, when Purple showed she was a mudlark and a quality stayer by dominating from the front, and I expect jockey Kerrin McEvoy to employ similar tactics. Purple was ridden back when she worked home strongly wide out to finish third behind Awesome Planet in the Doomben Roses. It was her first run since finishing seventh in the AJC Oaks, so she can be expected to be vastly-improved by the outing. John Wheeler’s good filly Juice didn’t have the best of luck when 11th in the Roses. In March, she finished fourth behind Coniston Bluebird in the G1 NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie – that’s terrific form for this. Michael Rodd replaces Michael Walker, and barrier one is perfect. Another NZ filly, Ekstreme ran on hard for second in the Roses and the filly is proven on wet ground – 2-3 in the heavy, including the G2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Trentham in Feb. She is right in the mix here. Doomben Roses winner Awesome Planet finished third in the Lowland, so she has a strong form-line through Ekstreme. Only Ethereal has won the Roses-Oaks double. Nothin’ Leica Cat only needs luck to be competitive. The tips: Think Money to beat Purple, Juice, Ekstreme, Awesome Planet and Nothin’ Leica Cat.
Predicted positions on settling
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AND ALSO When you add sentiment to logic you can get (and bet) a bit out of kilter, but the following advice seems to put the two elements together nicely ... back Mark Zahra’s two rides for the Peter/Paul Snowden stable at Flemington on Saturday, Red Pixie (R3) and Pinatas (R5). Why? Sentiment first: the Snowdens owe Zahra one because, while establishing himself as a regular with the stable, one of Sheikh Mohammed’s horses flipped over at the track one morning, landed on Zahra and broke his pelvis. This happened on January 13, and the rider didn’t resume until May 17. He hasn’t won in town since, although he was 5-21 in Victoria before riding on Friday. So Zahra, a strong and patient jockey, and a four-time Group 1 winner, deserves to have city success again after 4½ long months. Now logic: Red Pixie, a Lonhro 2YO (and the Lonhros are doing well) has two placings from three runs and is second up after her nice third at Flemington on May 9. She should have improved; Pinatas, a Commands gelding with a 3-6 record, has had a four-week freshen since a Wednesday win at Sandown. He, too, can step up. Add a vital third element – Zahra’s determination to show he’s back and firing – and backing both eachway won’t be money misplaced, especially with the weights (57.5kg and 58kg) meaning the Big Z won’t be weak from wasting. Stephen Howell