Khutulun on trial for Queensland Oaks

By: Mark Mazzaglia
May 14th, 2014

Connections of three year old Khutulun will consider paying a late entry fee for the Group 1 $400,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) if the filly performs well at Caulfield on Saturday.

Ben Melham will ride Khutulun on Saturday, Melham won the G1 Goodwood on Smokin' Joey above.

Ben Melham will ride Khutulun on Saturday, Melham won the G1 Goodwood on Smokin' Joey above. Photo by Jenny Barnes.

Khutulun is set to contest the $80,000 Super Vobis Three Year Old Handicap over 2000m on the weekend and if she pleases trainer Luke Oliver, he would advise connections to pay the $11,550 late nominations fee by Wednesday May 21 to run in the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on May 31.

“She would definitely have to run top three but certainly if she ran well we’ll consider it,” Oliver told AAP.

“So we get to run on Saturday and get to see how she pulls and we can then decide whether we go there.”

Khutulun has won twice from four starts and is going into Saturday’s race at Caulfield after finishing third in a similar race on the same track on May 3.

The Soldier’s Tale filly scored on debut over 1212m at Kyneton on March 23 then Oliver stepped her up to city midweek class for a third over 1600m at Sandown on April 9.

Khutulun continued to improve and scored in Saturday class over 1600m at Sandown against other three year old fillies before finishing third at Caulfield.

Comeback jockey Ben Melham will ride Khutulun on Saturday, replacing apprentice Jye McNeil who has ridden the filly at all her four starts to date.

Melham was back in form quickly when he returned from an injury enforced six months layoff to win the Group 1 $500,000 The Tapestry Wines Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville last Saturday on rejuvenated sprinter Smokin’ Joey.

The Wez Hunter trained Smokin’ Joey settled near the tail of the nineteen horse field but was able to gather in the leaders with a well-timed run from Melham to beat last year’s Goodwood winner Platelet.

Ironically Melham was aboard the Darren Weir trained Platelet last year and made it back to back Goodwood wins which silenced a few critics who questioned Melham’s engagement at his first day  back from such a long layoff.

“A lot of people were worried about me first day back after a long layoff and he (Wez Hunter) had the faith to put me on,” Melham told The Sunday Mail

Oliver is also looking for a big pay day on Saturday when he saddles up Jessy Belle in the $400,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas (1400m) at Scone standalone meeting.

“This race has been our goal all preparation and we’ll only hit it third up and we’ve put the winkers on just to make her a little bit sharper,” Oliver said.

“The last three or four weeks she has been galloping the reverse way at Caulfield. It feels like she’s a pretty adaptable horse so she’s ready to go up there and run well.”

Jessy Belle has finished second at her two runs this campaign both at Caulfield over 1200m and 1440m on April 19 and May 3 and will have the winkers on with top Sydney jockey Glyn Schofield to ride.

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