2013 Australian Oaks

Now this is a funny race that has thrown up plenty of upsets in the past 10 years. To be honest, it is normally run in a very heavy track and sometimes the best filly has simply not peaked on the day. It is also important to note that very few fillies win the VRC – Sydney Oaks double. Dear Demi is attempting to do this this year.

Dear Demi is by Dehere and out of a Zabeel mare. She is ideally bred for the 2400m that she faces on Saturday. She was great first up when third to two really fast fillies, she won second up, then her next two races have indicated she is getting dourer and it spot on for the Oaks. As mentioned, the Oaks double is a rare, but if there ever was a filly that looks ideally suited, it is Dear Demi. She will be very hard to beat.

Habibi is the favourite in the race and she certainly has claims to winning the autumn Classic. She has won over 2400m in NZ (only just) and she was fantastic in running third to the boom filly Norzita over 2000m at her last start. She also has brilliance as reflected by her wins over 1200m and 1400m against pretty good company. Like Dear Demi, this filly appears to be able to stay and has a great turn of foot. With luck in running she will be right there at the finish.

Royal Descent was fantastic in winning at Randwick last week. She gave weight to her opposition and was very tough at the end of 2000m. She too looks ideally placed at the 2400m under set weight conditions. Everyone in the racing game always mentions that when a filly / mare is in form, they usually maintain it. With three wins this time in, Royal Decent is clearly in form.

More Than Sacred. Here is the wildcard filly. She is by More Than Ready and out of a Danehill mare. She is impeccably bred and at her last start in the NZ Oaks she won brilliantly over 2400m. On that run, she is right in this race.

Verdict: Dear Demi and Habibi are the ones to beat and they are very well found in the market. But they have been (Dear Demi especially) aimed at this race for a long time and that, on recent occasions has brought about an upset. Streama was the clear best horse in the race last year and she won by a foot. It really is a funny race and a horse in form that is flying under the radar usually performs well in this race. Dear Demi and Habibi definitely are not flying under the radar.

4th. Habibi. In a race that might be decided by a length between the first 5, Habibi may have to put in an extraordinary effort to get over the front runners.

3rd. Dear Demi. Despite being ideally suited in this race, Dear Demi can find trouble. If she gets in too much trouble on Saturday, a few of the fillies at the front might be off and gone.

2nd. Royal Descent. Her win last week was really really good and backing up is a bonus in this race. Most horses that win the VRC Oaks back up from the Wakeful, so why wouldn’t backing up be suitable in the Sydney Oaks?

1st. More Than Sacred. There is something about this filly. The NZ Oaks was a great win and this time in she is proven over the 2400m; some of her rivals have not been to this distance this time in.

By Zeb Armstrong

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