Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks winning filly Jameka headlines the early nominations taken by Racing NSW this week for the Australian Oaks on Day 2 of Sydney’s The Championships.
A total of 119 three-year-old fillies are nominated for this autumn’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), which is set to run alongside races including the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Sydney Cup on Saturday, April 9.
Winner of the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last spring, Maher’s Myboycharlie filly Jameka is early favourite in futures ATC Oaks betting to make it a double.
She is set to resume racing this weekend in the Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield on CF Orr Stakes Day and is one of only two Australian Oaks hopes for Maher along with New Zealand import Keepelo.
Runner-up to Jameka in the Crown Oaks on November 5 last year beaten over two lengths was John Thompson’s perennial runner-up Honesta.
The grey daughter of Monaco Consul finished second in four straight spring features including both Sydney’s Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and Melbourne’s Crown Oaks.
She too returns to racing this Saturday but in Sydney’s Light Fingers Stakes, and is also nominated to possibly take on the boys in the Australian Derby on Day 1 of The Championships.
Crown Oaks third placegetter Ambience is another highly rated Australian Oaks chance this season, the daughter of Street Cry prepared by John O’Shea for goliath racing operation Godolphin.
She won the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington before her Crown Oaks third and is joined by undefeated Teofilo filly Asinara and Seltzer in the ATC Oaks nominations for O’Shea.
A dual nominee on the Day 2 card including in the ATC Oaks meanwhile is the classy David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Risque.
The young daughter of Darci Brahma has won three of her six runs so far all in New Zealand including the Group 1 NZ Thousand Guineas (1600m) in mid-November.
Yet to race down under, she is now prepared by the Lindsay Park duo and is nominated for a host of Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival features.
Along with the Australian Oaks she is in the mix for the Doncaster Mile on April 2 as well as the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) against the older mares on the Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day program.
Other notable Australian Oaks nominated fillies include Mick Price’s Thousand Guineas third placegetter and Edward Manifold Stakes winner Badawiya and the other major entry for Hayes & Dabernig in Thousand Guineas winner Stay With Me.
Peter Moody’s Savabeel filly Pasadena Girl, fourth in both the Thousand Guineas and Crown Oaks during the spring, is the most notable omission having instead been nominated for the Queen Of The Turf.
2016 Australian Oaks first acceptances close at midday (AEDT) on Tuesday March 8 followed by the release of the final field on Tuesday April 5, 2016.