Conners Shrugs Off Oaks Criticism

Three runs is as many weeks won’t prevent Dear Demi from claiming her second classic victory in the G1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

That’s the belief of Sydney trainer Clarry Conners, whose confidence was boosted after the Dehere filly drew perfectly in barrier three.

The Queensland Oaks is the main drawcard on an action-packed eight event card which also features three Group Two races, the Eagle Farm Cup, Queensland Guineas and QTC Cup.

The supporting line-up includes three Listed races, The Phoenix Stakes, Spear Chief Handicap and Bright Shadow Handicap.

Conners has been criticised by some for sending Dear Demi into the 2400-metre feature on the back of her win in The Roses at Doomben on May 18 and last week’s sixth in the G3 Grand Prix Stakes at Eagle Farm.

However, Conners, who won the Queensland Oaks with Zagalia in 2003 and Allow in 2006, has dismissed the concerns of critics.

“The Roses was her first run in three weeks so I had to back her up in the Grand Prix before she ran in the Oaks,” Conners said.

“I’ve got no concerns at all about the quick back-up. She loves it.”

Dear Demi has proven she is capable of hard racing when she backed-up after being beaten in the G2 Wakeful Stakes at Flemington to win the G1 Crown Oaks on the same track five days later.

If successful Dear Demi will become only the third filly to claim the Victorian and Queensland Oak double, joining Slight Chance (1992-93) and November Rain (1980-81).

Leading Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller will replace Luke Nolen on Dear Demi in the Oaks as Nolen is required for the Peter Moody-trained Miss Zenella.

Since 2000, The Roses at Doomben has been a valuable guide to finding the Queensland Oaks winner.

While only two winners of The Roses have gone on to claim the Queensland Oaks, eight Oaks winning fillies have used the Doomben feature as a lead-up race.

New Zealanders Ethereal (2000) and Scarlett Lady (2011) are the only fillies to complete The Roses-Queensland Oaks double.

Trainer Peter Snowden hopes strong performances from Academus and Complicate in the Queensland Guineas could boost his Stradbroke Handicap hand at Eagle Farm next week.

Snowden already will saddle up Stradbroke favourite Epaulette but he has a big opinion of Complicate who will be vying for a start along with Academus in next week’s 1400-metre feature.

Academus has drawn barrier 10 while Complicate will jump from gate 5 in the Queensland Guineas.

At their last starts, Academus finished third to Platinum Kingdom in the G3 Fred Best Classic at Doomben just ahead of Complicate who ran fourth.

Source : Racing Queensland

Share this article