Some of the country’s best three-year-old fillies will seek to join an impressive list of Group 1 Queensland Oaks winners in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon, including Egg Tart, Ana Royale and Kenedna.
Slated to run over the mile-and-a-half course at Eagle Farm each year, the 2017 Queensland Oaks will instead be contested at Doomben and over a distance of 2200m on Saturday, as a result of the track issues currently being experienced at the race’s traditional home.
Several outstanding fillies, including Winx, have been crowned the Queensland Oaks winner since the race’s inception in 1951 and we have delved into the history books to find some of the best ahead of the 66th edition of the feature race.
Equine superstar Winx is currently amidst an incredible winning streak which now spans seventeen races and she memorably posted her first Group 1 triumph in the 2015 edition of the Queensland Oaks. Having returned to winning form with a dominant performance in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) a fortnight prior, the Street Cry filly flew home on the outside of the Queensland Oaks field to record a three-and-a-half length win. Winx has claimed a further eleven Group 1 crowns since winning the Queensland Oaks and was last seen posting a near-six length triumph in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 8th. The rising six-year-old is currently back in light work ahead of a 2017 Spring Carnival campaign geared towards a third win in the country’s premiere weight-for-age race; the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m).
Outstanding stayer Ethereal won several of the country’s best races throughout her glittering career, including the 2001 edition of the Queensland Oaks. The Rhythm filly began her career in New Zealand and fast stamped herself as one to watch, but broke through for her first Group 1 triumph when she crossed the ditch for the first time during the winter of 2001. Having stormed home to beat Tempest Moon by a short head in the Queensland Oaks, Ethereal returned in spring a far-more furnished horse and placed third in her first three starts, including the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) behind Northerly. Running on to win the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at her fourth campaign start, Ethereal ended her incredible year with a smart win in the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Triscay was a star of the turf during both her two-year-old and three-year-old seasons and won the 1991 edition of the Queensland Oaks, amidst an outstanding and career-best preparation. Having posted a number of strong results and triumphs at Group 1 level in the months prior, the daughter of Marscay arrived in Brisbane in excellent condition and completed an ideal lead-in to the Group 1 feature with a dominant win in the Queensland Guineas (1600m); justifying her clear favouritism in the Oaks with a dominant performance as a final point of call as a three-year-old. The mare is celebrated during the Sydney Autumn Carnival each year with the running of the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m), carrying a purse of $150,000.
Prominent mare Surround won some of the country’s best races as a three-year-old, including her sixth win at the highest level; the 1977 edition of the Queensland Oaks. Surround stormed onto the Australian racing scene during the spring of 1976, winning both the Cox Plate and Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) in succession. Having resumed in similarly devastating form in 1977, the Sovereign Edition filly added wins in Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) to her CV before comfortably taking out the Queensland Oaks during the Winter Carnival. Surround won twelve of her sixteen starts as a three-year-old and was retired from racing after suffering an injury to her foreleg early in the early stages of her four-year-old campaign. The Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) is run at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Chipping Norton Stakes Day each autumn.
Mode was a smart winner of some of the Brisbane Winter Carnival’s, including the 1971 Queensland Oaks. A rare female winner of the Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) prior to her major campaign target, Mode stepped out for the Queensland Oaks in excellent condition and never appeared in doubt; winning the race by two lengths. The daughter of Aloe wasn’t as dominant when she returned to racing as a four-year-old, but added a smart win in the 1972 Brisbane Cup (2400m) to her record. The Listed Mode Plate (1200m) is contested at Eagle Farm in December each year and was most-recently won by classy mare Eckstein.
Bright Shadow enjoyed many accolades throughout her impressive racing career and was perhaps the winner of the 1968 edition of the Queensland Oaks. Having etched her name is Queensland racing history when a winner of races on two-consecutive days as a two-year-old, the daughter of Smokey Eyes carried Jim Andrews to success in the Queensland Oaks; subsequently the first three kilogram-claiming apprentice to win a Group 1 race in the modern era. The Listed Bright Shadow Quality (1200m) for fillies and mares is contested on Doomben Cup Day during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Evening Peal won the fifth edition of the Queensland Oaks in 1955 and would go on to win the Melbourne Cup in 1956; the first filly ever to complete the feat. Having shown plenty of ability with wins in both the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and VRC Oaks prior to her impressive win in Queensland, the Delville Wood filly placed second to Kiwi raider Redcraze in the 1956 Caulfield Cup, before turning the tables in the Melbourne Cup, thanks largely to a massive swing in the weights. Only the seventh mare to win the Race That Stops a Nation, Evening Peal also equalled the Melbourne Cup race record of the time.
The most-recent Queensland Oaks winner, Provocative continued a rich history of New Zealand raiders in major Australian staying races last winter. Having won an Ipswich minor over 2190 in May, the Zabeel filly took her position in the Queensland Oaks field and experienced an ideal run in transit on the heels of the races early leaders, before being produced in the final straight to beat Ambience to the line by three lengths. The daughter of Zabeel returned to the races for a lacklustre twelfth in the Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) in early spring, but was retired into a career as a broodmare after suffering a severe tendon injury.