Sydney filly Dear Demi produced an excellent trial for the Queensland Oaks and had to survive a protest in winning the Group 3 $175,000 Hidden Dragon The Roses (2000m) at Doomben today.
Dear Demi had to do it tough from the outside barrier of the sixteen horse field and Luke Nolen, having his first ride on the Clarry Conners trained three year old, was given no favours from the other riders.
Nolen had to steer a wide course going out of the straight the first time before securing a good spot middle field along the back of the track.
But when heads were turned for home, Dear Demi was once again the widest runner but was able to sustain a long run to hold the fast finishing Gondokoro.
Conners was very satisfied to see Dear Demi back in the winner’s circle after losing form following a good start to the Autumn Carnival.
“She had to do it hard from a fair way back, which sometimes she races and he got pushed very wide on the turn,” Conners said.
“I thought she got to the line very strong. She’s a good filly.”
“I am going to run her next Saturday, that’s the week before the Oaks. She’s got three Saturdays in a row.”
Conners will use the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben next week as the final lead up for Group 1 $400,000 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm the following week where the Dehere filly will clash again with Gondokoro.
Conners is looking for another Oaks victory for Dear Demi after the filly won the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in the spring and then finished second to Royal Ascent in the Group 1 $550,000 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 20.
Stewards dismissed a protest after Rhys McLeod on Dondokoro fired in an objection against Dear Demi for causing interference at the turn out of the straight at the 1700m where it was clear Dondokoro had to be checked.
Pat Carey, trainer of Dondokoro was adamant his filly should have won if she didn’t run into trouble in the early stages.
“It was a short half head and the way they finished, the ground she made up in the run, I’ve got no doubt with the interference and the unsteadiness of what happened to her she would have won the race,” Carey said.