A Melbourne Spring Carnival preparation is up for grabs if crack New Zealand filly Habibi can take out the Group 1 $550,000 Patinack Farm Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick tomorrow.
Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan has declared Habibi the best horse she has trained and can see the filly adding tomorrow’s Oaks to her Group 1 NZ$750,000 TV3 NZ Derby win over 2400m at Ellerslie on March 2.
“She’s a really exciting horse and she is only going to keep improving,” Logan said.
“She is not your normal horse, she is far above normal, she’s very talented.”
“To this point she hasn’t let us down and I don’t see any different her.”
“This is all on her first prep so I think the improvement after a good spell will be very exciting.”
Habibi beat the boys at Ellerslie and Logan was tempted again to take on the colts and geldings in the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick last week but was glad she didn’t with fellow Kiwi colt It’ A Dundeel annihilating the field with a six lengths victory.
“I figured that Group 1s are hard enough to win at any time but when there is something in there as good as he is I don’t want to run second to find out if we could beat him,” Logan said.
“We were better staying with the fillies and I’d rather try and win one than run second.”
Logan gave Habibi five weeks in between runs before stepping her out at Rosehill in the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) two weeks ago and was happy with her third to Norzita and more importantly happy with the way the filly pulled up.
“She’s come out of Rosehill really well, she actually gained a little bit of weight as well so that’s a good sign,” Logan said.
“Just knowing the improvement from the Vinery into the Oaks and knowing that 2400m is much more in her favour I feel confident she will go a lot better.”
“The Vinery trip wasn’t in her favour and I always thought Rosehill wouldn’t favour her and she wasn’t very comfortable there.”
Habibi will be taking on other Kiwi filly More Than Sacred who will be trying to win her second Oaks after winning the Group 1 NZ$300,000 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 16.
And the Clarry Connors’ trained Dear Demi will also be trying to add a second Oaks to her record after winning the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington in the Spring.
Connors has removed the blinkers from Dear Demi in a bid to help the Dehere filly return to winning form after being disappointing at her two runs since winning Group 2 $175,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on March 9.
Since then Dear Demi never threatened when eleventh to Appearance in the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 23 and then was well beaten again when fifth to Norzita in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
Bookies have posted Habibi the $3 favourite ahead of the Chris Waller trained Royal Descent at $5 with Dear Demi at $5.50 and Longport at $6 while More Than Sacred is a $11 chance.