Broadmedow trainer Kris Lees is staging a two pronged attack with Express Power and Soapy Star to cause an upset win in the Group 1 $400,000 XXXX Gold Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Late News: No. 5 Express Power has an elevated temperature and has been scratched from the Queensland Oaks.
The Queensland Oaks market suggests that Dear Demi and Gondokoro, co-favourites at $3.60, will fight out the finish again after a nose separated the pair when first and second in the Group 3 $175,000 Hidden Dragon The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 18.
But Lees hasn’t ruled out his fillies staging a form reversal after both finished behind the placegetters in The Roses.
“On face value I thought Express Power was a little bit disappointing but she had some excuses,” Lees said.
“We planned to ride her a bit closer which we did but that may not be the way to ride her and also she copped a couple of noticeable checks which just took a bit of wind out of her sails.”
“Her work since has been pretty smart, I think she’s back on top of her game. I suppose she’s just a little query at the distance like most of the field.”
And Lees had a glowing report for his other filly Soapy Star after she has continued to thrive in Queensland.
Lees initially had thoughts of sending Soapy Star back home after running second to Express Power in the Listed $125,000 H Harvey Prestige Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 4 but decided to push on to the Oaks.
“I suppose after the Gold Coast Bracelet I was questioning if Soapy Star could beat Express Power home that day but she did two weeks later so no reason why she can’t do it again,” Lees said.
“I wasn’t sure whether Soapy Star would stay leading into the Roses, obviously she was on trial at the trip and under the circumstances I thought her run was very good.”
“She’s a tough little filly, if she is going to run it, she’ll run it this time.”
“And she’s out of a Desert King mare by Dubawi, so there’s a good chance she can run it.”
“I think it is a pretty competitive and open race.”
Big race jockey Jim Cassidy has stuck with Express Power after being on board at her last three starts while Hugh Bowmans is the new rider for Soapy Star replacing Nicholas Hall who rode the filly at Doomben.
Express Power is on the second line of betting for the Oaks with the Gai Waterhouse trained Porcellanus at $10 with Peter Moody’s filly Miss Zenella at $11, Vaquera at $13 and Soapy Star is next in line at $14.