Trainer Kris Lees is confident that Hera will produce an improved performance in the 2014 Queensland Oaks, but is unsure whether she can turn-the-tables on dominant favourite Arabian Gold in the Group 1 event.
Hera went into the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 17 on the second line of betting, but overraced in the early stages and faded in the final 200 metres to finish a disappointed eighth behind Arabian Gold.
Lees was originally leaning towards not running Hera in the Queensland Oaks, but told Racing Ahead that he has been happy with her trackwork in the past week and said he was happy to include her in the final field for the Group 1 event.
“I am pleased with her work,” Lees said.
“We were in two minds after The Roses, because we were a little bit disappointed, but we let the dust settle and her work was satisfactory Tuesday morning and more importantly she settled in the work.
“In her defense (jockey) Jimmy (Cassidy) thought that she settled well enough, but I thought that she still raced a little fierce within herself in the first half of the race.
“That said it was only her second run in, albeit off a very short break, and she was beaten five lengths and I’m not sure that she can turn-the-tables on the favourite, but she has worked well since and they brought her for this race and I am pleased to push on.”
Lees has always had his doubts that Hera can run out a strong 2400 metres and revealed that he expects that Hera will develop into a miler as an older horse, but deserves an opportunity to contest a Group 1 event at the end of her three-year-old season.
“I think that she will be a miler next time around,” Lees said.
“I’ve had a couple of chats to Roger James about her and I think that he is on the same wavelength as well, having trained her in New Zealand.
“She has a win at 2000 metres, but she had a soft time of it in front at the end of a long preparation, and she gives me every indication that she will be a miler.
“That is why you have those doubts going to 2400, but then again against three-year-old fillies at this time of year she deserves a chance.”
Brenton Avdulla has been booked to ride Hera for the first time in the 2014 Queensland Oaks this weekend.