Kiwi trainer Sue Walsh will add blinkers to her staying filly Exquisite Jewel in the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Exquisite Jewel was having her first Australian start last Saturday when she ran on strongly at the finish to fill fifth spot behind the Bohemian Lily who scored a dominant four lengths win after leading all of the way in the Group 2 $175,000 URBIS The Roses (2020m) at Doomben.
Walsh is hoping the blinkers will get the Lucky Unicorn filly more interested in the early and middle stages and keep her closer to the action.
“The blinkers might help her to get going more quickly,” Walsh told NZRacing News.
The Foxton trainer said that leading Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne was very happy with the run and is looking forward to the filly going around again this week.
“Jim Byrne came in and said there was no way he was getting off her for the Oaks,” Walsh said.
“I warned him that she would go to sleep mid-race and that she’d need a good dig up to get going and he said that was exactly what happened.”
Exquisite Jewel is a winner of four of her fifteen starts with her best effort being a win over Werther in the Group 3 NZ$70,000 Higgins Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni on March 28.
Then at her next start before she travelled to Queensland, the placings were reversed when Exquisite Jewel finished second to Werther in the Group 2 NZ$100,000 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie, Auckland, on April 18.
Exquisite Jewel is well down the market order for the Queensland Oaks at Ladbrokes.com.au at $34 with the Chris Waller trained filly Winx dominating the betting at $2.45.
Gai Waterhouse’s filly Bohemian Lily is the second pick at $5.50 ahead of Sydney filly Sebrina at $7 and Winx’s stablemate Ballet Suite at $8.
Winx showed her class with a last to first win in the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast on May 16 and that win followed her second to Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11.
The Bjorn Baker trained Sabrina was an unlucky fourth behind High Midnight in a 2000m BenchMark 73 Handicap at Randwick last Saturday but will still be heading to Queensland for the Oaks.
Ballet Suite won her only Queensland start when she swooped home to beat Bohemian Lily in the Listed $100,000 City Property Services Princess Stakes (2000m) at Doomben on May 9 and Waller was happy for that to be her final Oaks hit out and scratched her from last weekend’s The Roses.