Head to Head
A detailed preview of Saturday’s feature Group 1 with Greg Spletter and Ray Hickson
GS: Thank the Gods this is happening at Doomben where we can bet up with some confidence, and while I reckon there’s a good thing in this race I have to give Kenedna some hope of knocking me off. It’s all changed for her since she turned three and has now won three of her last four including a tidy victory in the Roses here two weeks ago. This is only an extra furlong but I’ve felt at her last starts that she was out of puff at the end of 2000m, and looking her breeding this is as far as she wants to go. Lucky for everybody that the meeting has been transferred and race shortened but even more so for this filly who would have needed a lift home at the 200m. No doubt she is the biggest danger but is far too close to favourite in betting at $4.40.
RH: I must admit I thought she was the good thing the Schweppes Oaks and she was beaten fair and square. She has benefit of a spin around Doomben and she got the job done, possibly not loving
heavy conditions on the day. I share your concerns about extra distance but at same time the Adelaide form looks to be the right form. And what about John Allen? Wins Group 1s, feature hurdle races, he can do anything. Has to be in the top three.
2. EGG TART
GS: This is my good thing for the day, I think she is quite special and will make it six in a row here. She was simply outstanding in the Oaks at Morphettville where she gave them a big start and was held up vital stage halfway up the straight. What impressed me most was her pick-up when she got clear from the second gear
in to hitting afterburners to run down Kenedna on the line. She was off balance and backfoot, and it’s not often you see a horse go up to top gear so quickly off almost a standing start. She did the same thing at Flemington, albeit against weaker opposition,
run prior where they beat the third horse by 10 lengths. Super keen and she’s a $2.10-$2.20 pop for mine. She’s $26 in the Caulfield Cup, I’d win this and put her away an Ethereal-like run at that.
RH: Let’s worry about Caulfield Cups in a few months time but if you’re that keen and she wins this race she may shorten a bit come Sunday. It’s almost impossible to fault her and the fact this is 2200m around a relatively good Doomben and not hard slog 2400m on Eagle Farm beach is right in her favour. She should have won by probably a length in Adelaide and while I’m not quite as bullish as you she’s definitely the filly to beat.
3. DAWN WALL
GS: I took her on last start and to be fair it was a nice win, but it was against much weaker grade than this. The draw doesn’t help her either, but at least without a whole lot of speed engaged she might be able to push forward and take up a spot in the first three without spending too much. No prizes for laying a $7.50 pop but she is a place hope here at the top level.
RH: A stop-start preparation isn’t ideal going into any race let alone a Group 1. But we shouldn’t forget she started $4.40 in the Vinery at the Sydney Carnival and was one of ATC Oaks favourites so she has some quality Hugh Bowman’s been knocking over Group 1s everywhere this season. She’s aided by the distance change but it’s going to take a gun ride. Eachway if you like her.
4. ANA ROYALE
GS: She’ll furnish into a nice stayer as well next season. Scored very easy consolation prize over the longer trip last start after running on nicely behind Egg Tart in Oaks. This is her ninth run since the beginning of February and you’d have to wonder how much she has left in the cupboard, but her two most recent runs have been best so she might a Group 1 placing in her yet. Strong place claims, but I can’t see her beating my top pick.
RH: I disagree a little, I think she’s a bigger danger than Kenedna but would have wanted it to be 2400m to really make me think about it. She was only beaten half a length Egg Tart and was closing in fast. The fact she smashed an albeit weaker bunch at her next start says it wasn’t any fluke. What I do agree with is that she could be one of the big improvers into the spring and I’d be aiming at that 2000m mares race at Flemington in Cup week.
GS: Now we get into a whole bunch that have either finished close-up behind Kenedna or are just making up the numbers, it’s been a while since I’ve seen so few genuine chances in a Group 1 race of this size. This filly plugged away in the Roses last time after plugging away behind Dawn Wall at
Gold Coast and there’s nothing that piques my interest. Maybe if it was run on the heavy track across the road, but not in this.
RH: Chris Waller has seven runners in this Oaks and while I’d happily cross out at least a couple of them this filly isn’t one of them. That said I don’t think she can win. So far throughout her career she’s been a length or two behind being genuine Group horse but with the right run I could see her sneaking into a place. Finishing a couple of lengths from Kenedna and Dawn Wall isn’t terrible form.
6. OKLAHOMA GIRL
GS: Even form up until the fast finishing effort in the Roses here last start where she flashed home only to go down narrowly to Kenedna. Copped a nudge in the shadows of the post but it didn’t affect the result, and I think she may have been flattered by the state of
track as her best form has been in heavy going. In a linear sense she is probably entitled to be $9.00 against Kenedna’s $4.40 given the margin last time, but even if she gets past her tomorrow she’ll still be staring at the rump of Egg Tart.
RH: She’s been touted as a Queensland Oaks chance for while in Sydney and I thought she did no harm to those claims last start, giving Kenedna that fright. Obviously Egg Tart has surpassed her in the last month or so. We know she’s tough, I think she’ll stay but whether she has the class that the favourite seems to possess I have my doubts. She’s another of
7. PERILOUS LOVE
GS: Another filly who ran home well behind Kenedna in the Roses, but she got lapped by Dawn Wall the run prior when race was
to suit. She’s having her 12th start for the campaign tomorrow and already has some black type. On the same line as Invincibella and, to that extent, I’d prefer to be on this one but she’s only the roughest of place hopes.
RH: There really isn’t a lot in her form to say to me that she can pick up two lengths on Kenedna and Oklahoma Girl, let alone down anything else high up in the market. If this were a tough 2400m at the Farm maybe she’d be a hope but it’s not and she isn’t one.
8. CROSS STITCH
GS: If nothing else she would need it to be soft underfoot to show her best but even that wouldn’t be enough. She’ll probably lead, unless one of the bolters wants to throw caution to wind, but she’ll get swamped when they get serious on straightening.
RH: When you own a nicely bred filly that shows some staying ability and we creep into June you never begrudge an owner a throw at the stumps in Oaks like this. But that’s all it is.
GS: We should always be respectful of the royal blue in this type of race with a lightly-raced up and coming filly. She has put two back to back now in much easier grade but has appreciated the firm surface and while I can’t entertain her as a winning hope she’d definitely be in my standout trifecta behind Egg Tart.
RH: She’s a filly in career best form and has couple of wins against older horses to her name
those are big pluses, even if there’s a class question mark. The big minus is the barrier so Tommy Berry will have to weave some magic there. I wouldn’t say no to her filling a placing either.
10. ISN’T SHE ELEGANT
GS: Having been beaten eight lengths by Dazzle Em Sid and six
Dreams Aplenty amid a couple of low level victories she is very easily pegged. The $101 is
bit cruel, but I can’t manage a place for her.
RH: I guess she’s a little bit like Pygmy, towelled up older horses last start but has been racing C graders at three-year-old level. No real case from me for her.
11. SHARP SPEEDO
GS: Consistent filly who is out of her depth tomorrow.
RH: Another having a throw at the stumps and in her favour is the fact she’s honest and racing well. But outclassed.
12. BLANCO CARA
GS: She’s a half sister to Australian Derby winner Tavago and while her two victories have been very low level at Newcastle they were both strong, and in between them she ran on okay the Bracelet at the Gold Coast. Place hope at best, I’d throw her in that trifecta.
RH: I think she’s one filly that was desperate for it to be 2400m across the road. I have agree that on her Bracelet run she’s a trifecta player and if I happen to take a quaddie I might just throw her in for no other reason than Jason Collett seems to make a habit of knocking me out of them.
GS: Not a bad run on the heavy track last start in Roses but beaten easily at Flemington. If they were running a superfecta on this she might get spot, but passing otherwise.
RH: Ah the old superfecta. To be honest I don’t miss it. I thought she had her chance last time and while she was close up a win by her would be in the big upset category.
GS: One of Chris Waller’s seven runners in the race but it’s about six more than he needs. Better placed midweek and out of town.
RH: I’ve said it a couple times, having a crack at the end the three-year-old season. She did start hard in market in Adrian Knox April but didn’t handle the heavy. I could see her filling a minor place she’s about fourth string Waller for me.
15. MIA ROSA
GS: After sorting through all that filler material we finally get to one that has half a hope of causing an upset. Very lightly raced and she’s only had two starts this prep, most unusual for an Oaks prep but they’ll be happy the race has been shortened. Nice win in the maiden at Randwick coming from back, then again ran on Roses and wasn’t all that far Kenedna on the line. Never seen a dry track before and if improves her – and if I’m wrong about Egg Tart then she might knock them all out at $34. I’d save on her.
RH: Definite knockout material. I wouldn’t be too worried about the preparation, Mike Moroney certainly knows how to handle three-year-old stayers and stayers in general. The question, as you rightly note, is whether she’s a wet tracker and what we’ve seen is around the best she’s got or if she could improve on top of the ground. If that sort of silly price remains she’s worth a speck.
GS: No hope, appropriately priced. RH: I thought she would have won a race by now this prep after nice first-up run but she’s been relatively safely held. We’re talking a Pablo’s Pulse or Dandy Andy upset if she wins.
Kenedna (left) beating Oklahoma Girl in the Doomben Roses