OF all the Group 1 races conducted during Melbourne Cup week at Flemington, the Victoria Oaks is the one where favoured runners can be best trusted by punters.
Favourites have an extremely good record in the race, and if not won by the first elect, the second and third favourites usually win the Group 1.
This year we appear to have three premier hopes in the fillies Classic – odds-on favourite ALOISIA, last Saturday Wakeful Stakes winner LULVALUVA, and last start Ethereal Stakes winner PINOT.
CROWNBET’S market has ALOISIA marked at $1.70, LUVALUVA is at $7.00 and PINOT now a $6.00 chance.
Everything else is double figure odds and to be honest, a win by anything apart from these three would be a surprise.
It’s not hard to work out why ALOISIA is a short priced favourite.
At her fourth race start ALOISIA charged home to run second in the Group 1 $500,000 J. J. Atkins (1600m) in Brisbane before going for a spell.
She resumed with a rapidly closing 5th over an unsuitable 1400-metres at Caulfield before going second-up into the Group 1 $1 million Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
ALOISIA came from the back of the pack to charge past Shoals to win that Group 1 Thousand Guineas.
Shoals showed the strength of that form by winning the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day, beating the best mares in Australia.
Connections then decided to take on the boys heading to the Derby by tackling the AAMI Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day.
Not only did she win she trounced the best available, stamping herself as something quite special.
Now she heads into the Kennedy Oaks over 2500-metres at her fourth run back from a break, meeting all of her rivals on level weights.
To be honest the race is hers to lose.
LUVALUVA is an interesting and highly credentialed filly down from Sydney.
Her trainer is a wily old Kiwi called John Sargent, who has won this race twice in the past with strong staying New Zealand fillies.
These days Sargent is based in Sydney but he still sources most of his staying stock from New Zealand which is famous for producing superior stayers.
This filly has raced on just six occasions, but it wasn’t until her run two starts back when a closing second over 1600-metres at Randwick that people started to take notice of this filly.
Sargent brought her straight to Melbourne and into the traditional Oaks lead-up – the Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes over 2000-metres on Derby Day.
She came from last turning for home before getting up in the last few strides to win the race and set herself on a head-to-head clash with ALOISI in the Oaks.
The training partnership of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott is having a good carnival and their strong filly PINOT is the other winning chance in this year’s Oaks.
She is a typical Waterhouse ‘make your own luck’ racehorse who loves to lead and make everything else work hard chasing.
She has done exactly that at her past two starts winning easily at Flemington and again in the Group 3 $150,000 Ethereal Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
PINOT will have to stretch out to the 2500-metres of this Oaks contest, but there is no reason why she couldn’t be very competitive again.
Good race between principally three top fillies, but for mine, ALOISIA will have too much class at the end when it counts.
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