The 2014 Crown Oaks appears unlikely to have a capacity field after only 19 fillies were included in the first acceptances for the Group 1 event that will be held at Flemington on November 6 during the 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Robert Smerdon has a number of talented fillies in his stable and he remains a chance of having three horses in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) after he included Fontein Ruby, Crafty and Lumosty in the first acceptances.
Fontein Ruby is not bred to get the Crown Oaks trip, but she stamped herself as favourite for the race by scoring two tough wins in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on October 4 and the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Crafty is yet to record a race win this preparation, but she chased home Fontein Ruby in both the Edward Manifold Stakes and Caulfield Classic and looks as though she will relish the step-up to 2500 metres, while Lumosty was beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11, but the race was not run to suit.
Another filly set to back-up from the Thousand Guineas in the Crown Oaks is Go Indy Go, who is the only horse in the Crown Oaks first acceptances that has been successful at Group 1 level after she took out the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Go Indy Go started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an extremely poor performance in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 13, but returned to her best form in the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28 before she had no luck in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
One of the most interesting horses in the 2014 Crown Oaks first acceptances is Ciaron Maher-trained Azkadellia, who suffered her first defeat when second in the Yellowglen Plate (1400m) at Caulfield on October 18.
Azkadellia started her racing career with wins at Avondale and Wangaratta and stated the Yellowglen Plate as a clear favourite, but the Shinko King filly was blocked for clear running in the straight and could finish no better than second after finally finding clear running in the final stages of the race.
Veuvelicious, Abduction, Golconda, Forbidden Jewel, Lady Macan, Imperial Lass, Miss Interiors, Savage Coup, Fenway, Yesterjoy, Hipster Girl, Thunder Lady and Tink have also been included in the Crown Oaks first acceptances.