Trainer Kris Lees believes that Rustic Melody is worthy of her place in the 2015 Australian Oaks field and he is confident that the promising filly is a genuine chance in what he believes is a weak edition of the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Rustic Melody started her autumn campaign with a third place finish in the HK Power Coating Handicap (1300m) at Newcastle on February 7 and was second in both the Coca-Cola Handicap (1500m) at the same venue on February 19 before she made her metropolitan racing debut with a second place finish behind Caped Crusader in the Ranvet Handicap (1800m) at Royal Randwick on March 11.
The Snitzel filly recorded the second race win of her racing career to date when she romped to a dominant victory at Scone on March 24 before she was far from disgraced when second behind Candelara in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
“She has just kept improving with every run,” Lees said.
“She was very good on Monday in the Adrian Knox and that is always a good lead-up race.
“She is on a five day turn around, she has done well in the stable, she handles the ground and she gives every indication that she is going to run out the 2400.
“It is probably not a classic Oaks year and for that reason we decided to back her up.”
Candelara romped home to record a two and a half lengths victory in the Adrian Knox Stakes, but Lees believes that Rustic Melody is capable of turning-the-tables on her rival in the 2015 Australian Oaks.
Lees feels that the genius ride of Hugh Bowman was what won the race for Candelara and he is confident that Rustic Melody will relish the step-up to 2400 metres.
“I think that we have every chance at the 2400,” Lees said.
“It was a great ride by Hughie the other day, he caught them napping a bit and put a gap on them, but our filly was strong late and I think that she can be competitive against the filly.”
Rustic Melody is currently available at 2015 Australian Oaks odds of $19 with Ladbrokes, while Winx ($4.20) remains a clear favourite from unlikely starter Fenway ($6), Crown Oaks runner-up Thunder Lady ($6.50) and Chris Waller-trained Ballet Suite ($7.50).