Oxford Poet’s second verse can be the same as the first as he chases back to back wins in the Listed $150,000 ATC Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The rising seven year old hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since winning last year’s Winter Stakes but trainer Kim Waugh is confident that Oxford Poet can figure in the finish again.
Oxford Poet has had one run back from a spell for a seventh to Calanda in a BenchMark 93 Handicap over 1100m at Rosehill a fortnight ago and Waugh said that the Dylan Thomas gelding has progressed nicely and another Winter Stakes victory wouldn’t surprise her.
“Oxford Poet was first-up with that huge weight and the 1400m will suit him,” Waugh told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think Corey (Brown) will suit him as well and he will go great.”
Corey Brown takes over the reins from apprentice James Innes Jnr on Oxford Poet who has drawn awkwardly at barrier eleven in the thirteen horse field plus three emergencies.
Oxford Poet has been placed three times from six race starts since his 2016 Winter Stakes win which included a second at his next start in the Listed $150,000 Winter Challenge (1500m) followed by a third in the Spring Preview over 1400m, both at Rosehill.
Oxford Poet’s other placing was over the Summer Carnival when third in the $100,000 Summer Sprint over 1000m at Warwick Farm.
Waugh will also saddle up Shiraz in the Winter Stakes and is expecting an improved performance on his last start fifth to Gold Symphony in the Listed $150,000 Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill on July 1.
“I’m really happy with both of them and both horses have done really well since their last runs,” Waugh said.
Shiraz had drawn barrier six and Waugh will instruct jockey Jason Collett, who replaces Tim Clark, to try to settle the seven year old further back in the field.
“He needs to be ridden quieter,” Waugh said.
“He has a good turn of foot and you just have to save him up for one crack and ride him nice and quiet early and let him hit the line. He is really well and he is bucking his brand off.”
Oxford Poet is the better fancied Waugh runner at $8 for the Winter Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au while Shiraz isn’t far behind at $10.
The Mark Newnham trained Burning Passion has been installed the $4.40 favourite for the Winter Stakes and is coming off a winning double during the Brisbane Winter Carnival in a 1200m BenchMark 95 Handicap at Eagle Farm on May 27 and in the Group 3 $175,000 W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on June 24.
Team Snowden will also saddle up multiple runners in the Winter Stakes with Gold Symphony high up in the betting at $5, Extensible is at $7 while Snippets Land is the outsider of the trio at $16.