The 2017 Australian Oaks field has been released and 14 fillies are set to contest the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Vinery Stud Stakes is always the key lead-up race to the Australian Oaks and that will be the case again in 2017.
Vinery Stud Stakes winner Montoya’s Secret is set to miss the Australian Oaks after she injured her leg and picked up an infection during the week, but the likes of runner-up Nurse Kitchen, Harlow Gold, La Bella Diosa and Lubiton are all set to back-up in the Group 1 event.
New Zealand-trained fillies have an excellent record in the Australian Oaks and Murray Baker-trained Bonneval has been well-backed to deliver the stable another feature race win in the 2017 Australian Oaks.
Bonneval took out the Group 2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 11 and she won the Group 3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on March 2 before she was too strong for her rivals in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 18.
New Zealand Oaks runner-up Devise has chased home Bonneval in each of her past three race starts and she will have the chance to turn-the-tables on her rivals in the 2017 Australian Oaks.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2017 Australian Oaks field is Lasqueti Spirit, who will return to filles company for the first time since her extraordinary victory in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2400m) at Flemington during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival.
Lasqueti Spirit returned to the races in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 13 and she chased home Winx in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on February 25.
She was a touch flat in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 11 and she took up the running before she tired late when she finished fifth behind Jameka in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 25.
The 2017 Australian Oaks field is rounded out by last start winner Waking Moment, Adrian Knox Stakes runner-up Perfect Rhyme, Archie Alexander-trained Wheal Leisure, Scott Singleton-trained Cambage, the lightly-raced High Impulse, Team Cummings-trained Lamma Hilton and the progressive Zambesia.