The 2014 Crown Oaks field has been released and an even field of 12 promising staying fillies will contest the Group 1 event at Flemington on Thursday.
Leading Melbourne trainer Robert Smerdon has a strong stable of talented fillies and he is set to have with runners in the Crown Oaks; with Lumosty, Fontein Ruby and Crafty all set to represent the Smerdon stable in the $1 million race.
Lumosty is set to start the Crown Oaks as favourite after she recorded an impressive victory in the Group 2 Drummond Golf Fillies Classic (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 on the back of her unlucky eighth place finish as favourite in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
Crafty is yet to record a race win this preparation, but produced two strong Crown Oaks trials when third in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 4 and second behind Fontein Ruby in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m).
Fontein Ruby had her Crown Oaks odds slashed after she took out both the Edward Manifold Stakes and the Caulfield Classic, but there are now questions marks over the filly after she finished a disappointing sixth in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1.
The Wakeful Stakes was taken out by John Sargent-trained Thunder Lady, who has the chance to deliver the Kiwi trainer a second straight win in the Crown Oaks after he took out the 2013 edition of the race with Kirramosa.
Thunder Lady was beaten in a maiden at Newcastle on October 18 and she went into the Wakeful Stakes at big odds, but produced a strong staying performance to record an upset win and stamp herself as a genuine Crown Oaks contender.
Runner-up Abduction is also set to run in the Crown Oaks after finishing second in the Wakeful Stakes, while Robbie Laing-trained Golconda and Clarry Connors-trained Yesterjoy will also be backing up from the Group 2 event.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2014 Crown Oaks field is talented filly Go Indy Go, who will be stepping up to 2500 metres for the first time in her racing career.
Go Indy Go won the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and she has had mixed form during her spring campaign, but worked home strongly to finish third in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day.
The 2014 Crown Oaks field is rounded out by last start winner Set Square, Queensland galloper Game Of Fame, Peter Moody-trained Imperial Lass and outsider Hipster Girl.