Melbourne Cup week continues with another massive day at Flemington this Thursday for Crown Oaks Day. After a blowout in the Melbourne Cup, will we see a more favoured result in the Crown Oaks or will the weather throw up the chance of another upset result? Our horse racing expert Tim is back with more horse racing tips with our 2015 Crown Oaks preview!
Strong edition of the Oaks this year and the market reflects that with three horses at $4.00 or under. There are a couple of key things to consider in looking at the form for the race. The main thing is the state of the Flemington track which has played absolutely terribly on both Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day. With quite a bit of rain expected leading up to the race I think we will be playing on a soft track at best, and there's no telling what is going to be the fastest "lane" on the track. The other thing is the lack of tempo I can see in this race. There is no definite leader and we saw how much that affected the Melbourne Cup, so its important we consider that too.
PASADENA GIRL: Looks about a $7-8 chance to me, especially with the predicted rain. She's not shown as much speed in her legs this prep which suggests she's looking for the trip. She was luckless in the Thousand Guineas when Bowman got caught wide on her. She was beaten 1.85L by Jameka last start but she's shown her best at tracks with space like Randwick and Flemington. She's undefeated here and she won her Group 1 on a Soft 6 up in Sydney last prep so the rain will help her. Lovely run from barrier 5 and represents the value in the race.
JAMEKA: Possibly a bit short in the market for me after a good win at Moonee Valley last start, where she beat Tarzino who obviously then came out and won the Derby. I do think that victory was a bit flattering though, as the track was really favouring those on pace. Think she rolls forward from barrier 8 and either leads or sits one behind the leader. Never tested on wet tracks and the breeding doesn't exactly inspire confidence that she'll handle rain. Can't argue with her form around Stay With Me and Tarzino, but I have her rated closer to $5.
SACRED EYE: Really talented filly that put in a really strong performance against the males last start over 2000m. Form has stacked up from that race with Etymology since running 2nd in the Derby. She got the lovely run in that race but from barrier 9 it might not be so easy to get the same run. Untested on a wet track but her breeding suggests she can perform in the wet. Ryan Moore takes the ride, she's tough to beat and I've got her equal favourite.
AMBIENCE: Improved about 4 or 5 lengths last start to win the Wakeful by 3.5 lengths. She struggled around Caulfield prior to that when 3rd behind Dawnie Perfect and Honesta in the Ethereal, but looked a lot more comfortable at Flemington last start. That race was on a Soft 5 and she certainly appreciated a bit of cut in the ground, and her breeding supports that, so if the rain comes it's a positive for her. Barrier 10 is interesting; I see them rolling forward to sit in the first four. Rated equal favourite and the Wakeful Stakes has been the strongest form race heading into the Oaks in the past.
HONESTA: Ultra consistent having finished in the top 2 at her past six starts. She actually beat home Ambience in the Ethereal and probably didn't handle the track that well herself. Query with her is the trip, given she's Group 2 placed over 1400m and Group 1 placed at 1600. Her dad was a Derby winner but I'm not convinced 2500m is her go. Her Group 2 placing over 1400m was on a Soft 7 so she seems to handle the wet and from barrier 12 I expect them to roll forward. Roughie.
DAWNIE PERFECT: Great win off a hot tempo two starts back over both Honesta and Ambience but was just plain on the weekend in the Wakeful when the tempo was moderate and she was just grinding away. She was in the worst part of the track as it turned out so I thought the run was pretty good considering. Looks like she's crying out for the trip and she'll be tucked away in midfield from barrier 2. My concern is she's had 5 starts on wet tracks for only one placing. Roughie.
THE GREY FLASH: Comfortably beaten three starts back by Sacred Eye, comfortably beaten two starts ago in the Ethereal and then comfortably beaten last start in the Wakeful by Ambience. Hard to tell if she will appreciate rain or not but Ambience belted her on a Soft 5 last start and I don't see her turning that around.
MUZYKA: Good run in the Wakeful behind Ambience; beaten 4 lengths but she ran on well. She tends to get back in a lot of her races and for that reason barrier 1 might not be ideal. She's got 3 placings on Soft tracks and there were issues when she failed on a heavy track. I think she'll run the trip and handle the ground so she's certainly not the worst.
RITZY: Was performing well in easier races and then took on Ambience in the Wakeful last start but was purely outclassed. Not expecting much from her.
ZARABEEL: Good run in the Wakeful despite being beaten a fairly long way. She finished in 5th and should have finished a little bit closer. Performed reasonably on Soft tracks in the past and looks as if the 2500m could suit her, but she has plenty to make up on a few others.
DULVERTON: This is the blowout hope in the race. Bolted in to win her maiden on a Soft 6 and ran on pretty strongly when stepping up sharply to the 2200m of the Geelong Classic last start. She was pretty luckless and finished 2.5L behind Extra Choice who went in as a live hope in the Derby. Looks like 2500m will suit and the more rain the better for this Commands filly. Barrier 3 means she should get a nice run. Blowout at 20/1.
PRINCESS ARIA: Hasn't placed in any of her 8 starts leading into this and was beaten out of sight in the Wakeful. Pass.
As aforementioned, the keys to this race are the tempo and how much rain we get. I expect the tempo to be pretty slack with the lack of leaders in the race, which means we could see Honesta and Ambience come across together from their wide draws. Jameka will take up a handy position and Stay With Me will be looking to slot in midfield. Pasadena Girl is the one who gets the gun run.
There is plenty of rain forecast which should suit the likes of Ambience, Pasadena Girl, Honesta, Muzyka and Dulverton most. Unconvinced about Jameka's suitability to soft ground, and Dawnie Perfect hasn't performed too well on wet ground so far. Sacred Eye's pedigree suggests she can handle the wet.
History suggests the Wakeful is the race and I have both Ambience and Sacred Eye rated as equal favourites, but with Ambience's proven ability on Soft tracks, I'm just leaning towards her. Very respectful of Sacred Eye though, and the stable's confidence with her is telling.
2nd SACRED EYE
3rd PASADENA GIRL
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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