Sancerre will make her Group 1 debut in the 2014 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday and trainer Tony Pike does not believe that there is much between the lightly-raced filly and her stablemate Rock Diva.
Rock Diva is on the fourth line of Queensland Oaks betting markets after making her Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing sixth in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday, but Pike told Sky Racing HQ that he thinks Sancerre may have just as much natural ability as the New Zealand Oaks placegetter.
“I don’t think there is,” Pike said.
“Rock Diva is obviously proven back in New Zealand in stakes company and she has also had a run over a mile and a half, while the other filly is just very progressive.
“We have always held her in high regard and she went up to try and get her into the Queensland Oaks and she has made the field and looks to be peaking at the same time.
Sancerre made her racing debut with a win at Avondale on February 24 and finished second behind Beauty’s Beast in the Triton Pacific Owens Plate (1300m) at Tauranga on March 22 before finishing fifth in the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton Park on April 5.
Pike elected to send Sancerre to Queensland even though she was not assured a start in the 2014 Queensland Oaks field, but she moved her away up the order of entry with wins in the David Reid Homes Handicap (1600m) at the Sunshine Coast on May 11 and the Schweppes Handicap (2200m) at Ipswich on May 21.
The leading New Zealand trainer admits that Sancerre faces a far tougher task in the Queensland Oaks, but has been happy with the way the daughter of O’Reilly has performed this preparation and believes that she will give a good account of herself this weekend.
“It was always going to be a problem with prizemoney to get into the better races, so we just had to go through the provincial races here in Queensland,” Pike said.
“Admittedly, the fields may not have been strong that she has been beating, but she has been beating them well and she was pretty strong past the line.
“There are no worries about her getting the trip, it is just the class rise and whether she can handle that.”
Sancerre is currently available at 2014 Queensland Oaks odds of $17, while stablemate Rock Diva is priced at a quote of $17.