Ron Quinton knows what it takes to win Oaks races as both a jockey and a trainer so since he declared his current hope Crafty Irna a genuine threat in the AJC Australian Oaks many people are taking notice.
In the saddle Quinton triumphed on three occasions at Australian Oaks level and he also trained the VRC Oaks winner Bulla Borghese.
Crafty Irna won her last start race in the Adrian Knox Stakes to guarantee herself a spot in the field for a shot at the $550,000 event.
“She’s worthy of taking her place in an Oaks field,” Quinton said.
“In fact she’s going into the race off a similar preparation as Bulla Borghese had.
“Her lead-in run was over 2000 metres and it’s been the same with Crafty Irna.
“Really, Crafty Irna has just trained on beautifully this preparation. Everything has been like clockwork.”
Despite being assured of a chance in the 2011 Australian Oaks punters still haven’t warmed to her and she’s a $26 roughie on current online betting markets.
Shamrocker is the favourite after her blistering performance in the Australian Derby while Brazilian Pulse isn’t far behind either despite being beaten last start.
Quinton agrees that Shamrocker is a deserved favourite but is far from intimidated about the challenge.
“The Derby winner (Shamrocker) is entitled to be favourite and she will be very, very hard to beat,” he said.
“But my filly won’t be out of place because she’s bred to stay and there was a lot I liked about her win on Saturday.
“She was exposed quite early and on the line she still going stronger than anything.”
He’s also not worried about her short seven day recovery time saying if she sticks to light track work she should be in perfect shape by race time.
“She won’t need to do a lot,” he said.
“She’ll just poke along.
“The good thing is that she ate up on Saturday night after the run and she ate up well on Sunday.”
Despite not claiming her maiden victory for seven attempts Quinton has always had big wraps on the horse, especially when he entered her in the Group 1 Flight Stakes at just her fourth start last Spring.