Many of these VRC Oaks runners clashed in last Saturday’s Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) or last month’s Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield. Luck deserted some runners in those lead-ups, but the big question is which filly will best handle the 2500m at Flemington.
Here’s a look at the field and tips for the time honoured Group 1.
Why she can: Won three in a row and then had a total forget run when 11th in last Saturday’s the Empire Rose (1600m) behind Shilelagh. She did not see daylight at any stage and went to the line untested.
Why she can’t: Form is great, only query is the jump from 1600m to 2500m.
Why she can: Racing well. She followed a second to Verry Elleegant at Caulfield with a strong win in the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) here last Saturday. Races on speed and has the right alley to get a nice position.
Why she can’t: Impossible to knock on last win.
Why she can: Took ground of Aristia late in the Wakeful and finished second, but should have finished closer than the 3/4 length margin. She was held up behind the leaders at a crucial stage in the straight and did not get momentum until Aristia was off and gone.
Why she can’t: Inconsistency. Her only win came as a two-year-old last year.
Why she can: Smart filly that was a beaten favourite behind Aristia in the Wakeful when she was wide and over raced from the 1200m and worked home fairly for fifth. She’s had two runs over 2000m coming into this and gives the impression she’ll see the trip out. There is every chance the tempo will be on in this, which will help her cause. She also wears a nose roll for the first time.
Why she can’t: She was her own worst enemy in the Wakeful and if she is going to run this out she cannot afford to carry on like that again.
Why she can: Won well over 1800m this track last month in a three-year-old Hcp. Latest she box-seated and finished 7th to Verry Elleegant in the G3 Ethereal Stakes last month. Barrier one and will race on speed.
Why she can’t: She had every chance at Caulfield and would need to make a massive turnaround.
Why she can: She tried to lead all of the way in the Wakeful, but finished 4th to Aristia, beaten just under two lengths. Prior to that she was third to Verry Elleegant. Very brave filly that will give a sight.
Why she can’t: Drawn out wide so she may have to do a bit of work early to cross. She’s by Sizzling so breeding does not suggest she will be as strong as some of her rivals when the pressure goes on.
Why she can: Fair effort when made ground in the Ethereal for sixth after being near the tail of the field at the 600m, which gives the impression she will run out the 2500m..
Why she can’t: Beaten a long way at Caulfield and doubt she is up to this class.
Why she can: Won a Newcastle Maiden 2340m in good fashion at her last start. She has form and pedigree to suggest the slightly longer journey will work in her favour.
Why she can’t: She faces a massive class rise, but 2500m around Flemington is a big leveller for the fillies.
Why she can: Chases a hat-trick of wins after scoring in Class 1 and B68 (2046m) at her last two starts.
Why she can’t: Doubt she is capable of making the giant step in class.
Why she can: Finished powerfully, from near the rear of the field, to break her Maiden (1950m) at Yarra Valley at her last start. In-form jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
Why she can’t: Another with a huge jump in grade and doubt she is up to it.
Why she can: Weir and Bowman combine. She won by 3.5lengths in 2124m Maiden at Echuca last start. Raced on speed and was let rip at the 600m and powered away. By High Chaparral so bred to stay and a progressive type.
Why she can’t: She had cover at Echuca, but did want to over race. Weir has added a tongue tie for this, so that may help her settle, but any unruly behaviour will damage her chances.
Why she can: Placed three of four starts and most recent stepped up in grade and finished fourth to Verry Elleegant in the Ethereal. She drew the outside in the 16-horse field and was taken back to last. She was entitled to run on after doing no work early, but did finish with purpose. J-Mac to ride.
Why she can’t: Wide barrier and will probably go back again. Risk of getting too far back and by Sebring so might feel the pinch at the end.
Why she can: Difficult to make a case for this filly on recent form. Last in the Wakeful.
Why she can’t: Not good enough.
Why she can: Won Avoca Maiden (1860m), by a big margin, at her last start.
Why she can’t: Win was against very low quality opposition and not up to these.
Why she can: Placed in Maiden company at last two starts. Most recent over 1900m at Kilmore.
Why she can’t: Class rise too great.
Best: Verry Elleegant. Dangers: Qafila, Zapurler.