Australian Oaks Day at Randwick
Saturday’s Sydney Autumn Carnival opener at Royal Randwick racecourse goes by a number of designations, including Day Two of ‘The Championships’, depending on which of the meeting’s four historic Group 1 races is being punted at the time.
Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day is probably this year’s outright favourite, 2017 being the 25th anniversary of the monarch conferring the “Royal” prefix on Randwick, and in deference to the 2000m weight-for-age Queen Elizabeth Stakes’ $4-million purse.
But Australian Oaks Day is a fancied outsider in the nickname stakes, as the only set-weights handicap restricted to 3-year-old fillies. The 3200m Sydney Cup for 3-year-olds and older, and the 1600m weight-for-age Legacy Stakes for fillies and mares only, are the other two Group 1 races that will be keeping punters entertained on Australian Oaks Day.
The 2400m Australian Oaks, for a purse of $1-million, will be the first of the four great races run on Saturday, so its field of 14 will attract a fair amount of interest from New Zealand race betting enthusiasts. With champion mare Winx ranked by bookies as a dead cert in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, punters will be looking for more rewarding action in the other Group 1 races.
Bonneval and Lasqueti Spirit Worth a Look
New Zealand filly Bonneval, on three successive wins including the New Zealand Oaks at Trentham last month, is the $4.20 favourite for the Australian Oaks, but she isn’t too far ahead of arch-rival and New Zealand Oaks runner-up Devise at $8.00.
The second and third favourites for the Oaks are also New Zealand fillies: Harlow Gold at $5.00 and Nurse Kitchen, who might triumph with a trademark late charge on Saturday, at $5.50. The outsider with the best chance of causing an upset is probably Waking Moment, at $31.00.
Australia’s Lasqueti Spirit comes into the Australian Oaks off a win in the Crown Oaks at Flemington. After some disappointing mixed starts, she could reward in a race restricted to her sex and age, and is priced like Devise at $8.00.
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