Morphetville Oaks Day: Group 1 Previews and tips

Cameron Rose Columnist

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    Group 1 racing hits Adelaide for the first time this season, and it’s ladies day in the form of the Robert Sangster Stakes and the Australasian Oaks.

    The big question over the Adelaide carnival centres on how to marry the more credentialed horses – which might have been through the Melbourne or Sydney carnivals but might be going over as an after-thought – with those that might be of slightly lesser quality but are peaking for their grand finals.

    The Robert Sangster Stakes, being run as the Ubet Classic these days, is the feature race on the card, worth $1 million for the sprinting fillies and mares. Befitting the prize money, it has attracted a deep field with a lot of talent at the top end.

    English and Sheidel are the two best mares in the field and top the betting accordingly. Both have been racing in open company all campaign, with English winning the Challenge Stakes and running second in the TJ Smith. Sheidel won the Oakleigh Plate and ran a good fourth in the Newmarket Handicap as her best performances. If either mare is at her peak, they are the one to beat.

    I Am A Star is the best filly in the race, already both a Group 1 winner and proven over older mares. Her very best form has been over a mile, but she is proven at sprint trips too, although dropping back to 1200 metres after the 1600 metres of the Doncaster is tricky.

    Super Cash is super genuine and a little underrated, and beat I Am A Star and Chautauqua earlier this year, but 1100 metres tends to be her specialist distance. Secret Agenda always runs well and often wins at lower group level but is yet to prove herself a Group 1 winner. Her last three wins have all been on soft tracks.

    Ravi ran behind Secret Agenda last start and may appeal as a lightly raced mare down from Sydney set to strike second-up. She ran Sheidel and Silent Sedition to a length earlier this season, and if they can make ground, she’ll be very hard to beat.

    Viddora won the Irwin Stakes last start, which always a good lead-up to the big Adelaide sprints, beating Illustrious Lad, who we saw competitive in the best sprints over the autumn. She’ll be flying the flag for the locals.

    The import Now or Later must be kept in mind for Robert Smerdon. Better known as a miler in some of Europe’s top races, she’s been backed in early markets, and usually where there’s smoke there’s fire with the Smerdon camp.

    Missrock should be respected at healthy double-figure odds given her run behind Secret Agenda last start. She should be better on top of the ground, and she has drawn to get the box seat run.

    If there’s going to be a huge boilover, you could do worse than Sweet Sherry, who couldn’t run on against the bias in Sydney last time out but has talent and won’t be out of place if she gets a run.

    Selections
    1. Ravi 2. Sheidel 3. Now or Later 4. Missrock

    The Australasian Oaks give the middle-distance fillies their crack at Group 1 glory, racing for a purse of $500,000 over 2010 metres at Morphetville.

    Kenedna is the ruling favourite after winning two lead-ups in Adelaide off the back of good runs in Melbourne against some nice fillies. She’s been up longer than Stonehenge, but rarely is that a negative for Darren Weir horses, and after the week he’s had at Warrnambool you can back anything of his with confidence.

    With a couple of exceptions, you’d have to think those racing behind Kenedna at her last two won’t be able to turn the tables, which rules out a few as legitimate chances.

    The main challenge looks to come from fillies that are putting together some winning streaks of their own.

    Egg Tart has won four in a row for Chris Waller across state lines, including all three this prep on heavy tracks, where she has put margins on her rivals. The filly loses nothing by Kerrin McEvoy taking the ride after having Damien Oliver and Hugh Bowman on for her last two wins.

    Sword of Light is putting together a very handy career in the Saturday-class levels and always gives herself every chance racing just behind the speed, taking out her last two. Her challenge is to find the winning post away from Caulfield, where she seems to reserve her best.

    Toffee Nose was beaten on merit behind Sword of Light two starts back, but she improved up to 2000 metres last time out, when she won strongly against the boys. Having that sort of form will usually hold them in good stead for this kind of race.

    More was expected of Kiwi filly Savvy Dreams when running behind Kenedna last start after the way the New Zealand staying three-year-old form ran riot through the Sydney carnival. The placings behind Bonneval still stand out in the form-guide and it would be no surprise to see her lift.

    Harlow Gold’s class has been evident across her various Guineas and Oaks runs during the 2016-17 racing season, and that should give her a chance here at a lower level Group 1. How she’s still going at the tail-end of a busy three-year-old season is the query.

    Sebring Dream is always thereabouts but tends to find a few better. Her barrier probably dictates another fast-finishing effort for no chocolates. Smart As You Think could be an improver at odds from an inside draw, racing in handier position than what she did last time.

    Selections
    1. Kenedna 2. Harlow Gold 3. Egg Tart 4. Sebring Dream

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.