Group 1 Queensland Oaks preview

Queensland racing expert ‘The Professor’ previews the Sunshine State’s next Group 1 feature, the Queensland Oaks.

Track

The current track rating is Good 4. Fine conditions are expected up to and including Saturday, so we’ll likely have a Good 3 or Good 4 at worst by race time. The rail moves out to 4.5m the entire course. Generally in this position there can be a bias towards the fence but on the corresponding meeting last year the track played very fairly. I’m not anticipating a significant track bias, but I think there will be some advantage for on pace runners.

Pace

Looks like this could be a slowly run race. Not many on-pace runners engaged and most of the pace in the race is from the emergencies who’ll be lucky to get a start. Looks like the race will suit those that can be up on pace and will come down to who can sprint the best in the final 600m.

Runner-by-runner

#1 Princess Jenni (D Brideoake / D Oliver)
Barrier 9, 56.5kg

Winner of last three starts, including the G1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville last time out. That was a successful lead in race for Egg Tart two years ago, but I’m no wild about the four weeks between runs with no trial. Ratings out of that run were very strong though and do seem to put her clear of the others here.

#2 Aliferous (K Lees / B Avdulla)
Barrier 13, 56.5kg

Just missed in The Roses (Group 2) last start when settled back off a moderate tempo. Got held up in the straight, only getting clear below the 200m, and rattled home nicely. From barrier 13 could be even further back against a slower tempo this time.

#3 Etana (C Maher & D Eustace / J Allen)
Barrier 7, 56.5kg

Winner of The Roses (Group 2) last start over 2000m at this track. Settled midfield that day and just fell in from the closing Aliferous. Has finished in front of Princess Jenni on two occasions but those were over 1400 – 1600m. Is consistently competitive at this level so would be surprised if isn’t in the finish somewhere.

#4 Winning Ways (G Newnham / M McGillivray)
Barrier 11, 56.5kg

Had to come from well back in The Roses last start and though Aliferous and Etana obviously went better that day don’t think she was disgraced. Have been a fan of her form prior to that run – won over 2200m 3 starts back and does have a turn of foot. Will have to come from well back against a likely slow tempo again but one of the roughies that looks to have some chance.

#5 Pinmedown (M Moroney / M Walker)
Barrier 6, 56.5kg

Not overly familiar with the NZ form but last start in the The Roses was well beaten. May have some excuse finding a bit of trouble in the straight but didn’t make up any ground even when clear. Don’t really want to be with her.

#6 Rosendahl Red (M Kropp / J Orman)
Barrier 17, 56.5kg

Was close to the speed last start in The Roses. Despite them only going at a moderate tempo, she was weak to the line and well beaten by horses coming from well off the speed. Could be up on the speed and suited by the tempo again, but very hard to see how it wins off the back of last start and up to 2200m.

 

#7 Belle Roc (B J Smith  / S Galloway)
Barrier 4, 56.5kg

Only beaten 1.5 lengths in The Roses when up on the speed. Was first time out to 2000m and she should take fitness out of the run. Likely near the lead from barrier 4 and suited by the tempo again here. Could be competitive, but would need to run the race of her life to win.

#8 Welsh Legend (C Waller / B Shinn)
Barrier 20, 56.5kg

Looked the winner with 100m to go in The Roses after saving ground up the rail, but was swallowed up late. Gets a positive jockey change here with Shinn jumping on board, but not sure where she ends up from barrier 20 – doubt she pinches a run up the rails this time. Looks a big ask.

#9 Dawson Diva (G Taylor / R Wiggins)
Barrier 2, 56.5kg

Got right back to last in the The Roses and obviously wasn’t suited there. Did make up some ground late but plenty were going better than her. From barrier 2 she can be closer to the speed this time but still very hard to see her winning.

#10 In Good Health (J Ramsey / M Du Plessis)
Barrier 15, 56.5kg

Big jump in grade from a 1900m BM64 that she only just won (and was a very low rating race) to the 2200m Group 1 here. Millions.

#11 Dunlani (M Cumani / J Childs)
Barrier 1, 56.5kg

Another runner that won a BM64 last start. At least this time the race rated strongly and she was racing in black type the start before. From barrier 1 she can be up on the pace – don’t expect her to lead but she may on be the leaders back. Has won over 2040m at Moonee Valley in another strong rating race. Not without a hope.

#12 Angel Of Heaven (K Lees / B Shinn)
Barrier 3, 56.5kg

Like the set-up – has run over 2200m in her last two starts and is on the quick back-up here. I doubt there will be a fitter horse in the race. Showed a good turn of foot in narrowly missing the last start, coming from well back off a slow tempo. Expect to be in the finish.

#13 Savigne (C Waller / B Stewart)
Barrier 18, 56.5kg

Another one making a big jump in grade, coming from a BM64 midweek at Canterbury. Also goes up to 2200m from 1900m and is drawn a tricky gate. Not for me.

#14 Lady Cuvee (C Waller / R Fradd)
Barrier 10, 56.5kg

Comes out of the race won by Savigne at Canterbury last start and don’t think it was as a good a run as that horse. Has a habit of missing the start which is not ideal in this race. Leave me out.

#15 Our Intrigue (A Pike / L Innes)
Barrier 8, 56.5kg

Not sure what to make of this horse – she failed first up at the Gold Coast over 1800m on a heavy track, then was a convincing winner over 2200m at the Sunshine Coast also on a heavy track. That was a much easier race but she has form in black type staying races in NZ. I’ll be keeping her safe but really not sure what to expect.

#16.Duchess Of Lennox (C Waller / J McDonald)
Barrier 21, 56.5kg

Liked the run last start over 2000m at this track, when she got back against a slow tempo and went to the line strongly, just missing in a late dive at the post. Won’t be suited here though from barrier 21 – likely to be near last in running and against a slow tempo.

Emergencies

#17 On The White Turf (R & M Freedman  / J McDonald)
Barrier 16, 56.5kg

Thought she was disappointing last start in The Roses, when up on speed in a moderate race and only went fairly to the line. Prior run over 2000m at Randwick was good and if she gets a run here she can be close to the speed. Would need to improve considerably form last start though.

#18 Itz Lily (K Lees / C Brown)
Barrier 19, 56.5kg

Not beaten far last start in The Roses, when close to the speed from barrier 1. Prior form looks soft for this – has won races in Muswellbrook, Port Macquarie and Taree. Gets barrier 19 here and hard to see winning if she gets a run.

#19 Grand Bouquet (K Lees / Not Named)
Barrier 12, 56.5kg

Was a good win over 1800m last start in a midweek metro race, but this is obviously much harder and she’ll need luck just to get a start here. Is also up to 2000m for the first time which is a set-up I don’t like.

#20 Mrs Madrid (A Cummings  / Not Named)
Barrier 5, 56.5kg

If she gets a run, she’ll at least be fit with each of last three runs all over 2000m+. From a good draw she can be up on the pace and should be suited by conditions and tempo, but still needs to improve significantly to win here.

#21 Re Edit (C Waller  / Not Named)
Barrier 14, 56.5kg

Went to the line quite nicely last start in The Roses after getting right back. Needs a lot of luck to get a start here and if she does, will need even more luck getting back from a wide gate.

Summary

Definitely not as strong a race as the Group 1 last week, with the quality here falling off pretty quickly outside of the top few chances in the market. Princess Jenni looks a deserved favourite but is well found. Angels Of Heaven is the one that interests me outside of the favourite while Winning Ways strikes me as the horse that could run a race at odds.

 

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