|A large group of
exciting fillies will go head to head in Saturday's Group One Feltex Carpets SA Oaks at
Morphettville in Adelaide.
To help you find a
winner we have compiled a punting guide for the 2500 metre event.
22/10 TULLY THUNDER
6/1 The Mighty Lions
65/10 She's Archie
9/1 Embraceable You
12/1 Gold Lottey
20/1 Lucky Punch, Sursum Corda
25/1 Gorgeous Guru, Smooth as Silk
33/1 Geiger Gold
150/1 Sapphire Flash
History: The SA Oaks was first run in 1951
and won by Gay Comedy. The race used to be run in October before being switched to the Cup
Carnival in 1986.
The Oaks Double: The first horse to win the
SA Oaks after capturing the Australasian Oaks was the Bart Cummings trained Our
Tristalight in 1993. Since then other horse to complete the double was the David Hall
trained Episode in 1999.
Records: The late CS Hayes trained seven
winners of the Oaks. His late son Peter also won the race. Damien Oliver has won two of
the past three runnings with Episode (1999) and Asia last year. In the past ten years two
other jockeys - Steven King (Our Tristalight and Derobe) and Simon Price (Cherontessa and
Miss Margaret) have been multiple winners.
Barriers: There isn't a great deal of
importance on the barriers in the SA Oaks. Although it is an advantage to draw toward the
centre of the field or the inside if a horse which likes to race in a forward position.
There is a reasonable run to the finishing post on the first circuit before a sweeping
bend out of the straight. No horses like to get trapped too wide at any bend, however the
new Morphettville track is a little less forgiving now.
Last year: The Jack Denham trained Danehill
filly Asia was a maiden when the barriers flung open in last year's Oaks. Starting at 9/1,
the filly enjoyed a good run throughout before bursting to the front shortly after
entering the home straight. Top jockey Damien Oliver drove her home for a strong two
length win over Tempest Morn, while South Sea Pearl was third. Tempest Morn was backed in
from 12/10 to 9/10 and started the hot favourite for Jim Cassidy and Gai Waterhouse, but
she was unable to hold out the strong finishing burst of the Denham trained Asia. This
year Asia is back in Adelaide and will be one of the major players in Monday's Cup.
PROs and CONs for EACH RUNNER
PROs: Gold Lottey is clearly a quality filly. Her form in the spring was
outstanding around the likes of Magical Miss, Li Lo Lill and co. She is proven over the
distance and this is the race in Adelaide she has been aimed toward. She has a leading
Melbourne jockey aboard and her barrier should be ideal. Expect her to be on the pace,
which shouldn't require too much luck. Should the rain continue her chances are enhanced -
she's unbeaten on wet tracks.
CONs: The Encosta de Lago filly has been up a long time. Although
her trainer, Graeme Rogerson, is renowned for his ability to keep horses peaking for a
long time, you may see her struggling over the concluding stages. She can find trouble
because of her (still) greenness during the race. Expect her to grow out of this in time,
but it's still evident.
PROs: Racing in the best form of her career Tully Thunder has had
a preparation with Adelaide as the goal. Her trainer Ross McDonald knows what it takes to
win an Oaks in Adelaide - he's done it on multiple occasions in the past. Tipped to be a
chance of running in last week's Derby she has been given an extra week to recover and she
meets an identical field. Showed plenty of fight in her last win.
CONs: In the past the daughter of Thunder Gulch was been known to
throw her form. She's never been a back to back winner. She could be a question at the
2500 metres as she seemed to be having enough at the end of the Australasian Oaks. Her
best form appears to be on dry tracks so she won't appreciate any more of the forecast
rain at Morphettville.
PROs: Ran the best race of her career when she ranged up alongside
Tully Thunder before finishing second in the Australasian Oaks last start. She is bred to
get the 2500 metres although she is not really proven at that distance yet. Reported to
have looked good at the track during the week.
CONs: Has been up a while, although as mentioned above she is
racing in her best form. Unknown on a real rain affected track. She is a winner on dead
going, but that wasn't against a great deal of quality. Barrier one in one case could be
good, but she wouldn't want to be tardy away otherwise she could get buried away back on
the inside of the field.
PROs: Bart Cummings! She's trained by Hall of Fame trainer who knows what
it takes to win an Oaks in Adelaide, in fact an Oaks anywhere. She's been aimed at this
race in particular since winning at Flemington a few months ago. She's bred to get over
this sort of trip, and was seen making some ground at recent starts. Barrier fourteen
should be an advantage. Has an Oaks winning jockey aboard.
CONs: Has only won two of her nine starts, which is hardly the
record boasted by a horse which is set to win a Group One race anywhere in the world. But
don't forget Asia was a Maiden last year! Not overly convinced she would be able to handle
a track any worse than dead as she is unproven on any badly affected surface.
PROs: Is an absolute mudlark! In terrible conditions at Caulfield she
scored a runaway win. Terry O'Sullivan has been seen doing the raindance in recent days!!
(And so far it has been working). Has form around last weekend's Derby winner Pantani
through her placing in the VRC St Leger at Flemington. Has a favourable draw and an in
form Victorian jockey aboard.
CONs: Is one of the few runners coming back in distance from her
last start. Have you ever heard of a filly being too dour for an Oaks? Well this could be
her. Was making her best ground over the concluding stages in the St Leger over 2800
metres and gets 300 less metres on Saturday. Was beaten when a hot favourite at Swan Hill
three starts back!
PROs: Is a proven performer at the distance in Group One class in the
past. Her second to NZ's filly of the year Vapour Trail in the NZ Oaks earlier this year
was full of merit. Trained by a man who knows what it's like to train a top class
performer. A full sister to Champagne she is bred to excel over this distance. She didn't
show a lot before her strong finishing second in the NZ Oaks. Her lead up has been a
little similar in Adelaide. Sir Patrick has had a good carnival so far too!
CONs: She has failed to flatter in her two runs in South Australia
to date. Kept safe in the market she was close enough in the Lakewood before a somewhat
disappointing run in the Australasian Oaks behind Tully Thunder and co. Has won only one
of 16 starts and that was a lowly maiden back home. Doesn't seem to like any sort of
PROs: She has a fine record on any kind of affected track - in fact she's
unbeaten in the wet. So any continuing rain in Adelaide would be a great benefit. Trained
by the trainer of Testa Rossa and the good staying performer and Cup hope Rum. Has aboard
an unheralded leading rider from Melbourne - who's had a great past twelve months,
especially with the Alan Bailey stable. The barrier seems good and she ran an eye catching
fourth last start in the Australasian Oaks at Victoria Park.
CONs: She really isn't bred to get over this sort of trip. Her sire Celtic
Swing was a champion sprinter in Europe and he's best known in Australia for throwing high
class short distance gallopers like British Lion. Tends to throw her form around a little,
a sign of an inexperienced horse who lacks a little consistency.
PROs: Trained by the record breaking John Hawkes, a former Adelaide
trainer who always seems to win good races over the SA carnival. Signalled she was an Oaks
chance with an effortless Sydney win. Came to Adelaide and finished a handy third to Tully
Thunder and She's Archie in the Australasian Oaks at her first run in SA. Her only run on
a slow track was the great win in Sydney two starts back.
CONs: Unproven over the 2500 metre trip. Her run appeared to be ending at
the end in the Australasian Oaks. Some reports indicate she may have worked a little
"too good" on Tuesday morning before Breakfast with the Stars - could this be
Universal Prince and the Cox Plate all over again?? A change of rider is never ideal in a
Group One race. By Woodman - Australia's most underachieving stallion at this time.
PROs: A half sister to the AJC Derby hero Gold Guru, this filly is bred to
get over this sort of trip. Has shown glimpses of promise throughout her career and it's
time for her to take the next step. Trained by one of Adelaide's best trainers, Leon
Macdonald. Has an ideal barrier.
CONs: In her first real test at Group One level in the Australasian Oaks
she was a touch disappointing finishing more than ten lengths from the winner. Her two
wins to date have been against a weak lot. Local jockeys have been flogged by the
interstaters so far - good luck Stubby!
THE MIGHTY LIONS
PROs: Scored what seasoned Victorian racing followers have described as
the best non-city win they've seen in many years at Geelong. Has the proven duo of McEvoy
and Moroney - remember Brew, remember True Jewels, remember Pernod!!! By a former champion
who's done a good job at stud with staying performers in particular. Form around Dark Wine
CONs: The win was only Geelong and what did she beat - we're not
sure. They could have been budding young stayers or potentials for the Camel Cup. Bound to
start under the odds. How do you line up her form??? The win as Geelong was over 2250
metres and she was going to line like she could have done it all over again. Barrier could
be a bit tricky.
PROs: By a stallion who can throw a good staying performer (Gold Guru,
Minegold etc). A member of the Leon Macdonald stables. Trained at the track. Has an ideal
draw and a hungry local jockey aboard. Was "only" beaten seven lengths last
start in the Australasian Oaks. Last start she did have a terrible draw.
CONs: Her only winning and placed form came in weak company. Only run on a
wet track was certainly disappointing, when she missed a place. Unproven at the trip
although bred for it you just won't know until perhaps the 600 metre mark.
SMOOTH AS SILK
PROs: Trained on the track this filly should know every inch of
Morphettville well. From a stable who's won a Group One Oaks at this track in recent
times. Barrier should enable jockey to do what ever he wants from the middle of the track.
Form around Sadler Joh isn't too bad. Has one of the better local jockeys aboard. Owned by
a group who always seem to get good horses.
CONs: Has been finding horses to be beaten by in much inferior grade to
this. Is a Maiden - yeah I realise Asia was too, but her form was much better at the same
stage twelve months ago. Has placed once from two starts on an affected track. Unproven
over the 2500 metres at present.
PROs: If you fancy her you could write your own ticket.
Searching hard for pros but I guess Creek and O'Sullivan is one! Creek is Adelaide's top
jock and O'Sullivan mooted for a move to Melbourne in the future for Aquanita. Good
CONs: Should not be meeting these on level weights. If this was a handicap
she'd be on the minimum and would get a major advantage over most of the field. Her form
is nothing short of ordinary! Scored well in country Victoria but her two starts since in
similar grade have produced uninspiring efforts. Not proven at the trip and her sire is
not a Group One sire.
PROs: After last week I guess B Park is a good start. His two rides on
Firetaine and Troubles were brilliant. He's riding in the best form of his career and
Morphettville is suddenly his favourite track. From the stable of Firetaine. Has a
CONs: Started at long odds in the Australasian Oaks and failed to flatter
in identical class. Unproven at the distance and seems to need the track in a firm state -
she's missed a place at all her runs on wet tracks so far. Her best form is back over a
PROs: Trained by one of Adelaide's veterans at Cheltenham. Is well bred
and really should get the trip. Inside barrier an advantage. From the stables of former
top stayer Skybeau. By an in form sire.
CONs: Her preparation has been nothing short of unorthodox. She
had been balloted out of the lead ups and is now required to step up 900 metres for this
race. Unproven at the distance and on a wet track. Beaten in a weak race last start.
ONE TO BEAT: Tully Thunder
SECOND PICK: She's Archie
WET TRACKERS: Gold Lottey, Minogue, Lucky Punch, Gorgeous Guru.
NO HOPE: Cormeyer, Sapphire Flash, Jaraji.
PROVEN AT TRIP: Gold Lottey, Minogue, Sursum Corda.
RANK OUTSIDER: Cormeyer.
BEST ROUGHIES: Sursum Corda, Smooth as Silk, Geiger Gold.
SUGGESTED BET: She's Archie (each way).