Of the four days that make up the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington, Oaks Day, or Ladies Day, is the least about the action on the track. Fashions on the Field and champagne take centre stage as many racing purists give the day a miss, already turning their attention to Saturday.
Although Oaks Day is officially Ladies Day it is just as famous for the throngs of eligible (or not so eligible) young bachelors that continually swarm Flemington year after year in the hope of finding a nice filly.
Most importantly though, there is another nine races, which means another nine chances to try and back a winner at fabulous Flemington.
RACE 6 – GROUP 1 CROWN OAKS (2500m)
There looks to be three stand outs in this year’s Oaks. Brazillian Pulse and Sasa were clearly the best runs from Saturday’s traditional Oaks lead up, the Wakeful Stakes, while Precious Lorraine showed what she was capable of when fourth against the boys in the AAMI Vase.
At the odds I’m happy to put Precious Lorraine on top. As a two-year-old she easily accounted for Saturday’s Carbine Club winner Mr Chard over 1600m at Flemington and although she was somewhat disappointing at her first two runs back from a spell this preparation, her fourth behind Rekindled Interest in the Vase (subsequent impressive Derby winner Lion Tamer was second!) looks fantastic form for this.
Sasa was forced to go back to last after drawing the outside barrier in the Wakeful and I dare say had she been able to draw a gate then she would have won.
Brazillian Pulse is an extremely classy filly who despite racing three wide the trip needed no excuses and will again be right in the finish Thursday. Heartsareforlove and Placement are the obvious dangers while Shamrocker, Yosei and Dizlago wouldn’t surprise if they ran well after poor runs on Saturday.
- Precious Lorraine
- Brazillian Pulse
RACE 1 – LA VIE EN ROSE VASE (1800m)
Lightly raced son of Zabeel, Vesper, looks a promising stayer in the making and this appears to be the perfect race for him to add to his already impressive record. Work the Room comes out of the same race and wasn’t far behind my top selection. Colin Little has a big opinion of him and he is the logical danger. Cyclone Al is yet another lightly raced stayer in the making who should be suited by both the extra trip as well as the spacious Flemington track. Diago has some claims considering the strength of the QLD form this carnival while King of Mountains and Viking Hero certainly wouldn’t shock at odds.
- Work the Room (Needs Dry)
- Cyclone Al
RACE 2 – LISTED CROWN PROMENADE STAKES (1100m)
A quality race however if De Lightning Ridge can reproduce her latest run when second to Saturday’s Salinger winner Whitefriars in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1100m) then she will be extremely hard to beat here. She can be a bit hit and miss, but at her best she is a genuine Group 2 mare and did break the long standing track record at Randwick over 1000m. Tallow is a classy mare with great form around Graceful Anna and will be storming home late. Miss Octopussy is a talented mare that will prove hard to beat with a light weight as will Jerezana, who will be storming home late but may just find the 1100 a touch short. Impressive Eagle and Zinglaling can win, as can Flowerchild if she brings her best form. Acquired could be the blow out chance if she can get a dry track.
- De Lightning Ridge (Needs Dry)
- Miss Octopussy
RACE 3 – The G.H Mumm Handicap (1700m)
Impossible fillies event that I’m not overly keen to get involved in. God Help Her was impressive winning a strong race at Sale last start. She’s unproven at the trip although many of these are. Frenetica is a highly rated youngster that won her maiden well after finishing second behind a smart one at her previous start. Very Cherry is remarkably still a maiden but will give a great sight from on the speed. Ain’tnofallenstar has good enough form to win here while Lalla Rookh is from an astute stable that usually knocks off at least one race over the carnival.
- God Help Her
- Lalla Rookh
RACE 4 – LISTED GUCCI STAKES (1200m)
A really good race with heaps of chances. The first question is whether Curtana and Parriwi will back up after racing in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes on Saturday. Curtana actually ran second behind the very impressive Star Witness and if she takes her place here then that is good enough form to win this. Celts is a promising filly who defeated subsequent Coolmore placegetter Buffering at her lastest run. Lone Rock probably should have won last start after racing three wide the trip and then being forced to make her run early. Spurcific beat Curtana last start and can win if the track is slow or worse while Dutchy’s Lass and Chance Bye can both win if they don’t ruin the others chances up front. Offshore Sham shouldn’t be left out of any multiples and is a great each way chance.
- Curtana (Needs Dry)
- Lone Rock (Needs Dry)
RACE 5 – TCL ELECTRONICS PLATE (1400m)
The time honoured “greys race”, a race restricted to only grey horses is always good for a bit of a laugh and fits in with the laid back style of Oaks Day. Happy to stick with the same two horses I actually tipped in this race last and have come up at terrific each way value in the early markets. While No Jurisdiction ran last at his latest effort it was in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap. Although he has 59kgs, this represents a monumental drop in class and with luck in running he will be hard to beat. Translation ran second at decent odds in this event last year and is again well over the odds after a great first up run. Dead End is somehow the early short priced favourite after winning a maiden at Moe last start. Sure, he may be a promising young horse by boom sire High Chaparral and will relish the extra 300 metres, but at the current price he won’t be carrying my money. Zaira and Yau Chin can both go forward which is usually always an advantage over the Flemington 1400 and both can win.
- No Jurisdiction
- Dead End
RACE 7 – LISTED MYER SPRING FASHION STAKES (1800m)
An almost impossible 3y0 race with form lines coming from everywhere. Backgammon’s run last start was probably even better in hindsight considering the pattern of the day at Caulfield and he has been racing as if he is looking for the extra distance. Absolutelyawesome finished ahead of Backgammon at Caulfield and was then OK in the Vase. This looks a suitable race. Domeseky has had plenty of issues but has the talent to win while Crawfish and Gujju look to be others with top chances in a very hard race. Favourite Zubbaya couldn’t have been more impressive last start, but that was against the fillies over the mile and at her previous run over this track and distance against the boys she was found wanting.
RACE 8 – LISTED SWISSE VITAMINS STAKES (1100m)
The third of three fantastic straight track sprints for the day and like the other two it features a host of winning chances. Varenna Miss never looked the winner last start until she somehow stuck her head out on the line. I suspect that she will prove to be a very serious sprinter but is probably under the odds considering her record. With 53kgs they will know she’s in the race. First Command is probably over the odds considering his record. He was back to his best first up, before then having to face the breeze four and five wide behind Black Caviar which can easily be forgiven. Stryker is a good horse that will be finishing hard and is great odds in the early markets. Arinos won the race last year, loves the distance and the straight while Grand Duels is an old warrior that seems to be back to his best. He grows an extra leg down the straight track and shouldn’t be discounted. Rightfully Yours and Royal Ida are others with winning hopes. Favourite Avenue can win but in my opinion she is a better horse around the bend when she gets her own way in front. Temple of Boom is a good QLD sprinter but he may be found out down the straight 1100m.
- First Command
- Varenna Miss
RACE 9 – GRAZIA ULTIMATE STYLE GUIDE HANDICAP (1600m)
At the early prices I have to put Lakedro on top of the promising Niblick but there isn’t much between them. The former was very good when second in the Sale Cup. While the latter has three wins from five starts and drops 5kgs from his latest effort, he is yet to prove himself over the mile (he races as if it will suit) and his latest win was in a restricted 0-72 rated event. Riceman is a grand old horse who can win despite his big weight and horror barrier if he can get a significantly rain affected track. Eight Pieces looks the next best.
Click here for Ben’s Beginner’s Guide to the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.