Queensland Oaks favourite Dear Demi is facing another tough run on Saturday after drawing barrier seventeen at acceptance time in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben.
At first glance the awkward draw looks horrendous, but four of the five emergencies from the twenty-two final acceptances are drawn inside Dear Demi with a strong possibility she will jump from gate thirteen in the sixteen horse field.
As well as having to survive a protest from runner Gondokoro in the Group 3 $175,000 Hidden Dragon The Roses (2000m) at Doomben last Saturday, Dear Demi was posted wide the entire journey after jumping from the outside barrier of sixteen.
Luke Nolen had no options than to sit three deep before making a long sweeping run on the filly before scrambling home by the narrowest of margins from the unlucky Gondokoro and this week’s scenario looks just as challenging.
Trainer Clarry Connors is looking to race Dear Demi three weeks in a row and her fitness levels won’t be a problem when she lines up in the Group 1 $400,000 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm next week.
“I am going to run her next Saturday, that’s the week before the Oaks. She’s got three Saturdays in a row,” Connors said after the Crown Oaks winner survived the protest last Saturday.
“She had to do it hard from a fair way back, which sometimes she races and he got pushed very wide on the turn.”
“I thought she got to the line very strong. She’s a good filly.”
Dear Demi is only one of three fillies lining up in the Grand Prix against the colts and geldings with Patinack Farm trainer John Thompson saddling up restricted class fillies Offense and Fiesty Belle, both having drawn outside the favourite.
Thompson could end up with five runners in the Grand Prix with Heater (barrier 12) and New Spur (9) in the field as well and third emergency Smiles For Layla (11).
Queenland Derby fancy Hawkspur has drawn an inside gate and will get the run of the race from gate three with Jim Cassidy to ride again after the pair took out the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2100m) at Eagle Farm on May 11.
The Murray Baker trained Usainity also ran a good race in the Rough Habit and has come up with gate thirteen, but is likely to jump from nine if the emergencies don’t run.
Gai Waterhouse is backing up Hippopus after the three year old raced on the pace in the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben last week before fading to finish twelfth to Beaten Up and has drawn to the immediate outside of Usainity.