The New Zealand-born John Sargent is weighing up whether to bypass the Group 1 Queensland Oaks and head straight to the Queensland Derby with promising filly So Dazzling.
A master at training young stayers, Sargent will make the call after So Dazzling tackles the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Sargent has also dispatched stable mate Xtrarevz north for the Rough Habit Plate after making an early call to scratch the first emergency from the Group 1 South Australian Derby at Morphettville on Saturday.
“I had to make a call with Xtrarevz to run in the Derby in Adelaide or the Rough Habit but I couldn’t wait around for a scratching so he’ll be in Brisbane with So Dazzling,” Sargent said.
“Xtrarevz is a good stayer, who has won over 2200 metres, and he’s a good chance in the Rough Habit along with So Dazzling.”
Sargent has won a dozen Group 1’s during his career and celebrated his first win at the highest level on Australian soil when Quintessential won the Queensland Oaks in 2012.
So Dazzling is on the fourth line of betting at $9 while Xtrarevz is a $46 outsider behind the Chris Waller-trained Kovalica, who is an odds-on favourite at $1.90 in the Rough Habit Plate.
Waller has won three of the past 10 Rough Habit Plates and is hoping to make it four with Kovalica who destroyed his opposition in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm last month.
His first win was with Hawkspur in 2013 followed by Sadler’s Luck (2015) and Mackintosh (2016).
A daughter of So You Think, So Dazzling has won only once in eight starts, which came on a heavy track at Flemington in September last year.
She rocketed into winter carnival contention with an eye-catching second to New Zealand Oaks winner Pennyweka inn the Group 1 ATC Oaks at Randwick last month.
“I’ve had a lot of success in Queensland and I love going there,” Sargent said.
“So Dazzling is nominated for both the Oaks and Derby in Queensland but for some reason the Oaks is only 2200 metres while the Derby is 2400 metres.
“I would have preferred the Oaks to be 2400 metres like the Derby but if she beats the favourite Kovalica or races well in the Rough Habit she may go straight into the Derby.
“Otherwise she can drop back to the Oaks against the fillies.
“I’ll make that decision after the Rough Habit.”
Sargent was delighted with So Dazzling’s performance in the ATC Oaks.
“I rate the Oaks winner, Pennyweka, very highly but my filly had to get back from a wide draw,” he said.
“She was just beaten by a very good filly on the day.”
– Racing Queensland