The VRC OAKS (VICTORIA)
DATE: Run at 3pm (EST) on Thursday, November 9.
RACE TYPE: Set-weights
STATUS: Group 1 three-year-old fillies classic.
2016 WINNER: LASQUETI SPIRIT
RACE RECORD: 2.33.00
THE PRIZE MONEY: Total stakes: $1 million
THE VRC OAKS FIELD
BEST BET: No.1 ALOISIA
NEXT BEST BET: No.2 LUVALUVA
TOP ROUGHIE: No.5 RIMRAAM
No1 ALOISIA stamped herself as the red hot $1.90 favourite for the Oaks with her brilliant win in the Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) against the colts and geldings on October 28. The daughter of Azamour is chasing her second Group 1 in a row after beating her own sex in the 1000 Guineas over 1600m at Caulfield on October 14. The stable won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) with Merchant Navy on Saturday. In the past 10 years four of the Oaks favs have won.
No2 LUVALUVA gives her trainer John Sargent an excellent chance in the Oaks when she landed the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday. That was Sargent’s third Wakeful in the past five years. The New Zealand-born trainer won the double with Kirramosa in 2013. Blake Shinn rode the Sargent-trained Thunder Lady to win the Wakeful and run second in the 2014 Oaks.
No3 BRING ME ROSES was an impressive winner in the Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield on October 7. She beat Oaks rival Hiyamm for the major prize that day and she worked home steadily when running 12th to Luvaluva in last Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. Stable No.1 jockey Luke Currie is back aboard the filly after Mark Zahra rode her in the Wakeful. Can rebound from a middle alley in gate seven.
No4 PINOT is a favourite of co-trainer Gai Waterhouse being a daughter of champion juvenile Pierro, who Waterhouse trained. Pinot relished the step up to 2000m where she scored a brilliant 1.75 length win in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes at Caulfield on October 21. She had won the Oaks Trial (1800m) at Flemington at her prior start here on September 27. She looks the likely leader and can give Waterhouse her first Oaks.
No5 RIMRAAM has been well backed from $17 into $9 in early betting. Co-trainer David Hayes is delighted with his filly after she passed her final test with a close third in a busy finish to the Wakeful (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday. Hayes has won a VRC Oaks in the past and is confident the Commands filly will be superior for her start in the Wakeful.
No6 HIYAAM is from the in-form Mick Price team and she ran a great fourth to Luvaluva in last Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. The Wakeful has been the best guide to finding the Oaks winner over the past decade. Price won the Caulfield Guineas with $100 chance Mighty Boss last month and is looking to cause another upset with the $21 chance here.
No7 LUCKY LOUIE is a maiden at nine starts but maidens have won the Oaks in the past. An important statistic to winning the Oaks has been that the fillies are in their second preparation. She falls into that category and she has been luckless at her past two starts in the Wakeful (ninth) and the Ethereal (sixth). She is prepared by Anthony Cummings, son of legendary six-time Oaks-winning trainer Bart. If ridden softly she could overcome the sole query about her running a strong 2500m.
No8 RELIABLE DAME broke her maiden status in style two starts ago when running away to a 1.25 length win over 1600m in a maiden at Ballarat on October 5. She was then elevated in class to run a strong fourth to Weather The Storm in the Geelong Classic (2200m) on October 25. She is back against her own age and sex here and on her effort against the colts and geldings in the Classic is worth looking at for the placings here.
No9 SWEET MISCHIEF has the crossover noseband and the winkers coming off for her step up to 2500m for the first time. The stable is anxious to get her to settle better than when she raced keenly to finish seventh to Cliff’s Edge in the Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 21. That was a fair effort against the colts and geldings and she did run third to Pinot in the Oaks Trial (1800m) at her previous start here. Ace Adelaide jockey Jamie Kah gets a chance to win her first Oaks.
No10 FOUR KOALAS is a maiden galloper who will have the services of one of Australia’s best jockeys in Hugh Bowman. She followed Oaks favourite Aloisia into the Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) against the boys on October 28. Aloisia won and she ran eighth, beaten 14.5 lengths. Will be looking to cause a major boil-over here to win at $126.
No11 CIRCULEIGHT is from the high-flying stable of Busitten and Young. She was a good effort to run second over 2215m in a maiden at Seymour on November 2. She is a maiden but has been placed at three of her five starts so she has ability. She was doing her best work late in the Oaks Trial (1800m) here three starts ago when running eighth. Do respect this stable and experienced jockey Michael Walker rides.
No12 MISS ADMIRATION is a stablemate to Hiyaam. She is a maiden at six starts. Latest she ran 13th to Luvaluva in the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) here last Saturday. She has yet to earn any stakes money and a win by this daughter of Sebring would be a big surprise.