Racing: Trio good odds in A$1m Oaks

By Mike Dillon

Valley Girl is paying around $8.50 in Saturday's Australian Oaks. Photo / Trish Dunell
Valley Girl is paying around $8.50 in Saturday's Australian Oaks. Photo / Trish Dunell

As if being stung by the $31 on Cambridge 3-year-old Tavago in last week's Derby wasn't enough, bookmakers are similarly ignoring our three fillies in Saturday's A$1 million Australian Oaks at Randwick.

High-class fillies Valley Girl, Sofia Rosa and Capella are quoted in Australia at $8, $9.50 and $9.50.

The New Zealand TAB sees it slightly differently with Sofia Rosa and Capella on similar equal footing, but at $7.50 and Valley Girl at $8.50.

The two favourites Jameka ($3.80) and Happy Hannah ($4.60) are almost identical on both sides of the Tasman.

New Zealand has a great chance of lifting this Oaks and on our TAB Valley Girl looks at liberal odds at $8.50.

Hong Kong-based Australian jockey Brett Prebble jumped off Valley Girl after being narrowly beaten into second in the A$500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes in her Australian debut and said: "She should just about be favourite for the Oaks on that run." Happy Hannah finished third not far behind Valley Girl in the Vinery and is now half the New Zealander's price.

Jameka is short in the market after chasing home Tavago in second place in the Derby, but she has a couple of disadvantages. Perhaps the most significant is the one-week backup after a very hard run. The other handicap is the No 16 barrier, perhaps slightly negated by her ability to go forward early.

Sofia Rosa has her own disadvantage in running to her right when put under pressure in the closing stages of her races. She got away with it until she ran out very badly in the final 200m of the Oaks at Trentham last start and her nose decision being reversed in the stewards room was a given.

She is hugely talented and very tough, though, and if new rider Hugh Bowman can keep her out of trouble she will figure in the finish.

Capella didn't quite get the saloon passage Valley Girl received in the Vinery and was getting home strongly in a close up fifth. She completes a very strong New Zealand tri-challenge for this group one classic.

Bookmakers have the United States favourite for NSW's richest race, the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but they have not been rushed by punters to take the $4.60 and he remains a loose favourite over BMW winner Preferment at $5.

Sir Owen Glenn's Criterion is the $6 third favourite to take the feature for the second successive year. Tommy Berry replaces Michael Walker who stood himself down after a fainting episode on Sunday.

The expected slow track (better than our determination of slow) will suit Lucia Valentina who is next in the market at $7.

Stablemates Who Shot Thebarman and Libran are close to sharing favouritism in the 3200m Sydney Cup.

- NZ Herald

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