Some of Australia's classiest staying fillies will descend on Adelaide next weekend for the Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks with 30 horses nominating for the $500k race.
Trainer of last year's winner Egg Tart, Chris Waller has nominated two runners in Velocita and Savacool. Velocita is lightly raced and has not missed the placings in her last five starts including a last start win where she beat her stablemate Savacool. Savacool herself is only lightly raced and has contested six races for three wins and three seconds. Her last start win at Caulfield was impressive where she knocked off fellow Oaks aspirants Sheezdashing, Truly Discreet and Palazzo Vecchio.
Darren Weir also looks to have a strong contingent of chances including Saturday's Auraria Stakes winner Sopressa. Sopressa was ultra-impressive in her 4.3L Group 3 Auraria Stakes win which catapulted her into Oaks favouritism with bookmakers. She received a beautiful ride from Harry Coffey and looks as though she will relish the extra trip which is ominous for her rivals. Listed Tasmanian Oaks winner Pleasuring produced an eye catching run to storm home for fourth in the Auraria and could pose a real threat to her stablemate in next month's Group 1, while his other runner Think Bleue is in great touch after winning yesterday at Flemington over 1720m.
Group 1 Thousand Guineas winner Aloisia will be one of the big draw cards of the race for Ciaron Maher. The filly has contested six Group Ones already in her short career and finished sixth in the VRC Oaks and seventh in this month's ATC Oaks.
Another highly credentialed runner is Tony McEvoy's Bring Me Roses. The Group 2 Edward Manifold winner ran second to Pinot in the Group 1 VRC Oaks last year and was fourth in the ATC Oaks. She will have the upper hand over some of her rivals with already having two runs on the Morphettville track earlier in her career including a third placing in the Listed Oaklands Plate.
New Zealand galloper Belle Du Nord is twice placed at Group 1 level and also contested the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks in March before coming across to Australia. Her two runs in Adelaide since arriving have been promising, in particular her last start third in the Group 3 Auraria behind Sopressa. Any give in the ground come May 5 will also be a bonus for her and her connections.
Upset winner of the Listed Laelia Stakes Blue Morpho will be one of the main local hopes for Daniel Clarken and Oopy MacGillvray. The filly was given a peach of a ride by Jake Toeroek in the first Oaks lead-up race and should not be overlooked in the main dance next weekend.
Lindsay Park's Earth Angel ran home strongly for third in the Laelia before doing the same to finish second in last weekend's Auraria. David Hayes will be hoping Earth Angel or his other runner Pure Scot can give him his first win in this race since 2007. Pure Scot has contested some quality races in her short career including the Group 1 Thousand Guineas. She comes off a fourth placing in last weekend's VOBIS Gold race at Caulfield and is one who could easily win the Oaks.
Nominations for the Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks
1 Aloisia (Ciaron Maher)
2 Angelic Spirit (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young)
3 Banish (James Cummings)
4 Belle Du Nord (Emma-Lee & David Browne)
5 Blue Morpho (Dan Clarken & Oopy Macgillivray)
6 Bring Me Roses (Tony McEvoy)
7 Chilly Cha Cha (Kris Lees)
8 Earth Angel (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig)
9 Eperdument (Shane Oxlade)
10 Haylin Rouge (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra)
11 Highway (Steve Englebrecht)
12 Jungle Fish (Michael Kent)
13 Kaimu (Brent Stanley)
14 Lady Cartier (Brent Stanley)
15 Miss Admiration (Mick Price)
16 Palazzo Vecchio (Mick Price)
17 Pleasuring (Darren Weir)
18 Pres De Toi (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra)
19 Pretty To Sea (Ciaron Maher)
20 Pure Scot (David & B Hayes & T Dabernig)
21 Savacool (Chris Waller)
22 Semari (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young)
23 Set To Cruise (Mick Huxtable)
24 Sheezdashing (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra)
25 Snogging (Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young)
26 Sopressa (Darren Weir)
27 Temple Of Bel (Tony McEvoy)
28 Think Bleue (Darren Weir)
29 Truly Discreet (Dan O'Sullivan)
30 Velocita (Chris Waller)