Trainer Tony McEvoy is confident his two fillies in the 2018 Australasian Oaks field in Adelaide on Saturday are on track for big runs better than their prices for the Morphettville classic suggest.
Fifteen three-year-old fillies are engaged for this autumn’s Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Oaks (2000m), registered as the Australasian Oaks, which runs on Robert Sangster Stakes Day on the weekend.
McEvoy saddles-up two double figure hopefuls with Bring Me Roses ($15) and Temple Of Bel ($12) outside the best in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Angaston-based McEvoy is confident that the bookies could have it wrong and believes both his fillies have genuine claims in an open edition of the Australasian Oaks.
Bel Esprit filly Temple Of Bel is up notably in grade and chases her first win over further than a mile, but McEvoy likes her to outstay her pedigree and handle Saturday’s 2000m distance.
She comes off a second-up run when narrowly beaten on the line by Mahamedeis at Caulfield in the VOBIS Gold 3YO Sires (1600m) on April 21 and her hoop there, Craig Williams, retains the ride on the weekend.
“I’m still learning about her, but her first run for me at Caulfield was a super run and she was beaten by lack of momentum really,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria this week.
“She just had to stop at a vital stage.
“I gave her a gallop here yesterday morn and, gee, she worked well.
“I would say on that bit of work, and looking at her record, she could really make the step-up to Group 1 level.
“I think she’ll love the 2000 on that bit of work and she looks very fit and sound and bright and happy, just how you like them going into a major contest.”
Bring Me Roses is better experienced, the High Chaparral filly making her sixth appearance in Group 1 company on the weekend.
Her first was in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) in the spring where she ran a surprise second as a $2 1roughie.
She also placed third behind the boys in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington this autumn before unplaced runs in Rosehill’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) running eleventh a blanket finish behind Daysee Doom against the older mares and a disappointing 10th in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
McEvoy stepped her back up to a mile and a half last time out in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) where Bring Me Roses ran fourth at Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’.
“I’ve decided to bring her home and freshen her up and she’s been up at my farm on the river Murray,” McEvoy said.
“She’s really bounced out of Sydney beautifully. She’s really brightened up well.”
He hopes that the drop back from 2400m to 2000m won’t prove too sharp with Bring Me Roses’ record at the 2000m poor.
“I can’t quite explain that, but she’s got a great base fitness and she’s nice and fresh and bright, so all the signs from home is that she’ll love 2000,” he said.
Chris Waller meanwhile chases back-to-back Australasian Oaks wins with Savacool ($5) leading the markets this year following the success of Egg Tart last autumn.
The other best fancied filly at $5.50 is the rails-drawn Sopressa, one of three in the mix for Victoria’s Darren Weir.
A well-bred daughter of So You Think, Sopressa looks ready for the 2000m having blitzed her rivals at the track on April 21 for a four and quarter-length win in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) when also drawn barrier one with Harry Coffey aboard.
The fellow Weir-trained Think Bleue ($6.50) chasing a third win on the trot Ciaron Maher’s Flight Stakes winner Aloisia ($7) present as the other notable Oaks hopes in Adelaide this weekend.