Classy staying filly Luvaluva confirmed her status as the 2018 Australian Oaks favourite with an impressive win in the Group 3 $200,000 Carlton Draught Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) at Kembla Grange today.
Luvaluva ($5) came from midfield to claim a long neck win over the $3.50 favourite Torvill and the John Sargent trained filly is now the $6 top pick at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 14.
Winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy who scored back to back wins in the Kembla Grange Classic after steering the Chris Waller trained Dawn Wall to victory last year, settled Luvaluva midfield in the early and middle stages before tracking Torvill into the race.
McEvoy peeled Luvaluva off the back of Torvill at the 250m and the Mastercraftsman filly really stretched out as she found the line to run down the Clarry Conners trained filly with Wedgie ($11) a further half a length away in third position.
Luvaluva showed during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival that she was one of the top staying fillies in the country with a win in the Group 2 $300,000 G.H.Mumm Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and she has shown today that she is the one to beat in the Australian Oaks on day two of The Championships.
“That was above expectations over the mile,” Sargent said.
“But when they are good they are good and she hit the line great.”
“I think you will see a better horses at four. She is one of those horses that is more like a mare now. It is onwards and upwards.”
“She was probably a bit further back than I thought but he is a master rider and he was following the favourite all of the way and he got her out at the top of the straight. It was a lovely ride.”
Early betting for the 2018 Australian Oaks at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Luvaluva, $7 Danzdanzdance, $10 Bring Me Roses, $11 Aloisia, Savvy Coup, $12 Semari, $13 Contessa Vanessa, $15 All Too Soon, Belle Du Nord, Hiyaam, Milseain, Treasure, Unforgotten, $17 Earth Angel, Pandemonium, Rimraam, $21 or better the rest.