Trainer Shaune Ritchie is leaving the last piece of the puzzle up to Jason Waddell at Trentham today.

Because while the Cambridge trainer wants to do anything he can to win the $400,000 New Zealand Oaks with Jennifer Eccles, that will soon be in the hands of Waddell.

And Ritchie admits he is kind of relieved because he really doesn't know what to think after his electric filly drew barrier 19 for the classic.

Ritchie has done his job all season, executed his plans perfectly. He has taken a $5000 filly to the edge of Filly of the Year and held her form and then peaked it at the right end of the season after plenty of travel and some brutal racing in a great crop.


But his greatest fear of the entire campaign was whether Jennifer Eccles would stay the 2400m of the Oaks. He is sure she would be ridden quiet with cover, tucked away on the rails.

That may not be an option now and if Waddell gets trapped back in the giant field and has to move, Jennifer's engine could get revving a lot faster than favourite punters will want.

"When I heard the draw I was floored," admits Ritchie.

"That is the one draw we didn't want. I think she will get the distance but it is going to be harder now.

"Jason and I have talked about it but really the problem, that headache, is his. And I know he is the right man for the job."

Ritchie is happy with his filly's condition and she has won her last two starts, over 2000m and 2100m, so easily they haven't taken much out of her. So if today is the last hurrah for the season she is ready.

Tactics will be crucial.

If, as looks likely, Jennifer Eccles settles well back and the runs come wide from the 1000m and she can follow the right horse, only pulling out when she is balanced up, she is still the filly to beat. But that is a big if.


Easing the barrier blow is at least the fact her two most regular sparring partners this season in Loire (15) and Showbeel (12) have also drawn wide.

Showbeel is a go forward filly so her barrier is not a disaster but Loire's is more tricky for Vinnie Colgan.

Still, with the big track and distance likely to suit her, Loire could be the best each way bet today in a field that has renewed depth in the form of Sunline Vase winner Communique, Seven Seas, Karalino, Meghan and a few others.

But they would all probably need the big three to under-perform or to reach new peak performances themselves to win.

The Oaks isn't the only clash of high class fillies at Trentham today, with unbeaten Levante and impressive last-start winner Star Of Bombay headlining a Wellington Guineas dominated by fillies, with nine of the 11 starters.

Levante has genuine x-factor and never looked comfortable on a wet track at Matamata last start but still overcame it while Star Of Bombay was excellent at Ellerslie and it took Dragon Leap and Riodini to beat her in the Auckland Guineas two starts ago.


Add Callsign Mav, who looked back to his best last start, the Ritchie-trained Bella Mente, who ran a blistering last 600m when second last start and Melody Belle's unbeaten little half-sister in Exaltation and the Guineas will be fun. Today's main sprint sees two-time Telegraph winner Enzo's Lad return to his favourite track where he also ran second to Avantage in the Telegraph this season yet he remarkably gets a 3kg advantage over Shadow's Cast in the Lightning for the sprinters.