Thanks for joining us for live coverage of Crown Oaks Day, brought to you from the mounting yard press room at Flemington.
Keep coming back to theage.com.au for the latest news and results as we wrap up the Spring Racing Carnival with this Saturday's Emirates Stakes Day meeting.
Oaks Day highlights
- Dear Demi wins the Crown Oaks: read Michael Lynch's wrap-up here
- Amy Robson wins the Fashions on the Field: read Rachel Wells' wrap-up here
6.05pm — Daniel Sankey reports: That's it for our live coverage of Oaks Day here at Flemington. Don't forget to log on to theage.com.au from 3pm tomorrow for our Rails Run preview to Saturday's Emirates Stakes meeting, in which Alan Eskander from Betstar and Andrew Eddy from The Age will give their tips for the big races. You can keep up to date with all the Emirates Stakes Day results on theage.com.au this weekend. Now, I wonder if any marquees are still open in the Birdcage. And has anyone seen Mena Suvari about?
5.53pm: Jockey Steven Arnold has finished Oaks Day with a race-to-race double, bringing 2 LORD OF BRAZIL down the outside with a blistering run to win the Grazia Ultimate Style over 1600m. It's a result that put even more value into the quaddie, with $11 chance Lord of Brazil the final leg in what was a $44,679 quadrella on the Victorian TAB. In second was 10 CHILE EXPRESS (Corey Brown), who ran well but was no match for the winner, ahead of 6 MAGIC ME (James McDonald), who edged the favourite 7 NEW YORK (Glen Boss) out of third place.
Grazia Ultimate Style (1600m)
2 LORD OF BRAZIL $11.40, $2.70 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Steven Arnold. Trainer: Darren Weir.
10 CHILE EXPRESS $2.70
Jockey: Corey Brown. Trainer: Rod Griffiths.
6 MAGIC ME $4.00
Jockey: James McDonald. Trainer: Terry and Karina O'Sullivan
First Four (2,10,6,7): $3,390.30
Victorian quadrella (1,12,6,2): $49,679.60
Big 6 Major (13,10,1,12,6,2): $1,391,544.40
Big 6 Supp (13,10,1,12,6,AOS): $10,939.90
5.38pm: Turning our attention to the final race on the program, the Grazia Ultimate Style over 1600m. The on-course favourite is the Glen Boss mount 7 NEW YORK, who's solid at $2.80 in the betting ring. Also given chances are 4 LORD WIMBLE (Kerrin McEvoy, $6) and 1 PRIZUM (Jamie Mott, $7.50 out from $6). Andrew Eddy likes New York in this race, while Patrick Bartley sticks with the John Sadler-trained topweight, Prizum.
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 9
7 New York
4 Lord Wimble
2 Lord of Brazil
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 9
6 Magic Me
7 New York
3 It's Prince
ABOVE: National Fashions on the Field winner Amy Robson.
5.38pm — Daniel Sankey reports: It wouldn't be Ladies' Day at Flemington if we didn't congratulate the winner of the national winner of the Fashions on the Field. This year, Brisbane paralegal Amy Robson won the first prize with a multi-coloured print pencil dress with a neon green beaded peplum and a matching neon green and black headpiece, both designed by her grandmother. Read Rachel Wells' full story here.
5.30pm: If you missed today's Crown Oaks, won by Jim Cassidy on Dear Demi, don't despair ... it's already on YouTube (see below). And if anyone knows where Dear Demi's owner, John Singleton, is celebrating victory tonight, please let me know. I reckon the party will be worth seeing! Good luck to you Singo, and congrats to trainer Clarry Conners, who's had a terrific relationship with Singo over the years. Who could forget the scenes at Rosehill in 2000 when Conners and Singleton combined for a Golden Slipper victory with Belle du Jour ... and Singo shouted the bar!
5.12pm: And another big plunge by the punters goes amiss, with 6 GENERAL TRUCE (Steven Arnold) overhauling the heavily-backed 1 GOLDEN ARCHER (Luke Nolen) to win the 50 Years of Fashions on the Field Stakes (1000m). The punters rose as one as Golden Archer, backed in from $4.60 to start a $4 favourite, hit the front inside the 300m. However, Arnold was able to find a split between runners at just the right moment, and once clear General Truce exploded to grab victory on the line. It was a payback of sorts for Arnold, who was the beaten jockey on another heavily-backed favourite, Scapolo in the previous race. This time, Arnold played the role of spoiler, with General Truce a 17/1 outsider on course.
50 Years of Fashions on the Field Stakes (Listed, 1000m)
6 GENERAL TRUCE $16.30, $4.60 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Steven Arnold. Trainer: Ricky Maund.
1 GOLDEN ARCHER $1.60
Jockey: Luke Nolen. Trainer: Peter Moody.
10 STRATCOMBE $5.50
Jockey: Craig Newitt. Trainer: Mick Price.
First Four: $10,527.40
5.04pm: Before we get to the final race on the program ... it's worth mentioning that markets are already open — on next year's Melbourne Cup! Those who watched the race closely won't be surprised to see that the Betstar market on next year's Melbourne Cup has this year's runner-up, Fiorente, a $17 equal favourite with the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos, who looked the unlucky runner behind the winner, Green Moon. If you think Lloyd Williams' stayer can make it back-to-back Melbourne Cups, Betstar is offering odds of $21 ... the same price at 2011 Geelong Cup winner Gatewood. The 2011 Cup winner, Dunaden, is a $41 chance while today's Crown Oaks winner Dear Demi is at $34. Full market here. But be warned ... this is an all-in market, so if your selection doesn't start, you do your dough.
4.48pm: If you're still in the quaddie, congratulations — I'm jealous! But there's still two winners to be found here on Oaks Day, so there's plenty of time to get out of trouble. And there's a decent race to do so if you're a follower for Andrew Eddy, for the 50 Years of Fashion on the Field Stakes (1000m) features Fast Eddy's best bet on the Flemington program. He's very keen on the chances of the Paul Perry-trained 13 I GET AROUND (Glen Boss), who certainly did get around when visiting Moonee Valley last start. In fact, if the Snitzel gelding ran in a straight line instead of getting around all over the track, he probably would've won that race on Cox Plate day quite comfortably. With less than 20 minutes left in the betting, I Get Around is a $5.50 second favourite behind Peter Moody's 1000m specialist 1 GOLDEN ARCHER (Luke Nolen, $4.60 into $4.20).
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 8
13 I Get Around
5 It's Crunch Time
3 Winter King
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 8
13 I Get Around
3 Winter King
1 Golden Archer
ABOVE: American actor Mena Suvari is having a "most wonderful time" at the races today in Melbourne. Unfortunately, some of us have to work ... but at least we can live vicariously through you, Mena.
4.28pm — Daniel Sankey reports: The quaddies don't get any easier to find at Flemington this week ... a big plunge on 2 SCAPOLO (Steven Arnold) goes amiss in the Myer Spring Fashion Stakes (1800m) as the 40/1 outsider 12 FLYING SKIPPER grabs victory in the shadows of the post, with 1 KAZANLUK (Kerrin McEvoy) and 9 HOST OF THE PARTY (Dwayne Dunn) close up for the minors. Scapolo had been very well-backed on course, firming from $5 to start a $4.20 favourite, and was oh so brave in defeat after setting a good tempo throughout. Approaching the 300m, the favourite looked gone after being headed by 3 PHAROMAC (Matthew Neilson) and Kazanluk, but the Bachelor Duke gelding fought back to regain the lead only to be overhauled at the death by the fast-finishing Flying Skipper. The winner, trained by John Hickmott at Murray Bridge, was coming off a two-and-a-half length fourth in a restricted 1600m race at Morphettville, so it wasn't surprising that the Danerich gelding was overlooked by most on-course punters.
Race 7: Myer Spring Fashion Stakes (1800m)
12 FLYING SKIPPER $51.30, $11.80 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Steven King. Trainer: John Hickmott.
2 SCAPOLO $1.90
Jockey: Steven Arnold. Trainer: Kevin Myers.
1 KAZANLUK $2.90
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Anthony Freedman.
First Four (12,2,1,9): $34,215.70
4.20pm: Second leg of the quaddie not far away now, with the Kevin Myers-traind 2 SCAPOLO (Steven Arnold) a well-backed favourite, firming from $5 into $4.20 late. Second favourite in the Myer Spring Fashion Stakes is 3 PHAROMAC (Matthew Neilson, $5 out to $6).
ANDREW EDDY TIPS: Race 7
4 Road Trippin
6 The Principal
PATRICK BARTLEY TIPS: Race 7
6 The Principal
4.04pm: If you're a fan of Andrew Eddy's tips, then I hope you followed up on his selections in the Crown Oaks. "Fast Eddy" managed to tip the first three in finishing order in the Oaks ... in the process, getting one back on his good mate Patrick Bartley, who stuck with Zydeco. Bad luck for Pat, but we hear he's still cashed up after unleashing on Mosheen in last year's Oaks. For his fourth selection, Fast Eddy threw in Ireland's Teardrop, and I'm sure he was secretly hoping she could hold on when Vlad Duric took the filly to the front down the back straight. He had been promised an expensive lunch by bookmaker Alan Eskander, from Betstar, if Ireland's Teardrop saluted at odds of 50/1. Given Dear Demi was a shortener ($5.50 into $5), I guarantee Alan would've also been cheering on Ireland's Teardrop! The payout on the winner is likely to sting. We reckon he can afford it ... Betstar got a good fill-up on Tuesday with Green Moon's victory in the Melbourne Cup, and there's been long-priced winners galore throughout the Flemington carnival this year.
ABOVE: Jimmy Cassidy salutes the crowd after winning the Crown Oaks on Dear Demi.
3.46pm — Daniel Sankey reports: As predicted, it was the three favourites left to battle it out in the Group 1 Crown Oaks at Flemington, but it wasn't the result that most pundits predicted. The Clarry Conners-trained Dehere filly 1 DEAR DEMI turned the tables on her Wakeful Stakes conqueror, beating 2 ZYDECO (Kerrin McEvoy) to the $600,000 first prize with 8 SUMMERBLISS (Craig Williams), who was having just her third race start, back in third. Off a hot tempo set by firstly 10 TYANNA and then 7 IRELAND'S TEARDROP, who took over the running down the back straight, the backmarkers were given their chance. Zydeco raced on the inside of 11 LA ZUMA, just worse than midfield, with Dear Demi a couple of pairs further back. Coming to the turn, McEvoy was forced to push out as Corey Brown held his ground on La Zuma and from that moment on, Zydeco was off the bit and under pressure. Jimmy Cassidy, on Dear Demi, cruised up on the outside and the pair settled down to fight it out in the final 200m, with Dear Demi proving the stronger stayer — a 2.5kg pull in the weights on their Wakeful run also decisive. Running on strongly from the back for fourth was the David Hayes-trained 6 MARAATIB (Michael Walker).
There's little doubt there champagne will be flowing in the Cassidy household tonight. It's Jim Cassidy's fourth Oaks winner, but the first since 1990, when he steered Weekend Delight to victory. "The Pumper" was masterful today, giving Dear Demi the perfect run off the pace and timing his charge to perfection. And there was no shortage of pressure ... Cassidy copped plenty of criticism for his only other two rides on Dear Demi, when she almost went through the fence in the 1000 Guineas before a game second to Commanding Jewel, while he was left with nowhere to go on the inside when fourth to Zydeco in the Wakeful. An Oaks win is a pretty good way to make up for those two rides. As Cassidy would say, "Ring-a-ding-ding, the Pumper's still the king!".
Race 6: Crown Oaks (Group 1, 3y0 fillies, 2500m)
1 DEAR DEMI $4.90, $1.80 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Jimmy Cassidy. Trainer: Clarry Conners.
2 ZYDECO $1.40
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Anthony Freedman.
8 SUMMERBLISS $2.50
Jockey: Craig Williams. Trainer: Mick Kent.
First Four (1,2,8,6): $377.20
3.30pm: Not long until the feature event on the program, the Group 1 Crown Oaks for the three-year-old fillies. On track, the bookies are risking the favourite, 2 ZYDECO — she's $2.30 out to $2.50, but it'll be interesting to see what happens in the 10 minutes before they jump. 1 DEAR DEMI ($5 and steady) is the second pick from 8 SUMMERBLISS ($8.50, out from $8.50). Our tipsters are split between the top two — Andrew Eddy likes Dear Demi and Patrick Bartley is on Zydeco. Good luck punters!
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 6
1 Dear Demi
7 Ireland's Daughter
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 6
ABOVE: A true American Beauty ... actor Mena Suvari greets her hosts at the Lavazza marquee in the Birdcage on Oaks Day at Flemington. The star of the critically-acclaimed American Beauty and the not-so-critically acclaimed American Pie series, Mena is today wearing a creation by Australian designer Aurelio Costarella. Maybe we should call her an Australian beauty today? Mena will be rubbing shoulders with other Lavazza guests such as singer Ricki-Lee Coulter and DJ Vogue Williams. We're not sure if she's drinking champagne, or doing her best by her host and sticking to Lavazza coffee. Maybe an espresso martini could be a nice compromise?
3.20pm — Michael Lynch reports: Things you wish they had told you earlier — Aquanita spokesman Sam Doran took to twitter after Shamal Wind's impressive success in race four and declared: "Low flying ... Mark Zahra at 54kg was a solid lead...". It certainly was if you were on the flying filly from the Smerdon stable who went into the race with the second lowest official rating of the 14 runners in the 1400 metre race. Sometimes you have to look beyond the obvious although to be fair, the youngster was clearly open to significant improvement having won her only start at Ballarat comfortably as an odds on favourite on debut.
ABOVE: Arinosa (Brenton Avdulla) wins the greys' race on Oaks Day at Flemington.
3.10pm — Chris Roots reports: Sydney trainer Chris Waller predicted on September 15 that 10 ARINOSA (Brenton Avdulla, $3.50F) would win the greys' race on Oaks Day at Flemington ... and he was proven correct when the Dash for Cash mare hurtled down the centre of the track to claim a comfortable victory. Waller gave the mare just one start following her September 15 victory over 1500m at Rosehill, when she was a fast-finishing second behind Mosse Diva over 1400m on October 27 before making the trip to Flemington. Last year's winner of the greys' race, 7 DASH FOR VIZ (Craig Newitt, $14), was second from 14 RUN DIEGO (Ryan Maloney, $21).
Race 5: TCL 3D TV Plate (Greys, 1400m)
10 ARINOSA $3.90, $1.80 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Brenton Avdulla. Trainer: Chris Waller.
7 DASH FOR VIZ $3.70
Jockey: Craig Newitt. Trainer: Rod Griffiths.
14 RUN DIEGO $5.30
Jockey: Ryan Maloney. Trainer: Allan Peterson.
First Four (10,7,14,4): $3,837.50
2.45pm — Daniel Sankey reports: To the fifth race on the program, the TCL 3D TV Plate (1400m) ... a race that's surely going to be popular with the punters, given it's restricted to grey gallopers. 10 ARINOSA (Brenton Avdulla) is the favourite, despite a slight ease ($3.60, out from $3.50) on track, while the John Thompson-trained 4 NEW BEGINNING is $5 out to $6.50 and 5 SPECTER (Mark Zahra) is $6 out to $6.50. Andrew Eddy is sticking with Arinosa in his tips, while Patrick Bartley is with Specter following the race morning scratching of 13 LA POUPEE.
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 5
12 Keep It Moist
14 Run Diego
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 5
4 New Beginning
7 Dash For Viz
2.39pm — Michael Lynch reports: Numerologists, or those of a superstitious bent, would surely have filled their boots with Robert Smerdon's impressive filly Shamal Wind. The daughter of Dubawi was sold in Melbourne for $55,000, having been lot 555 in the catalogue. Mind you, you might not have needed to be superstitious, given that she was carrying saddlecloth 13 in this afternoon's race. Smerdon said the filly would now go for a spell, having passed her class test with flying colours. This was a step up to listed grade, following her racecourse debut in a maiden at Ballarat a fortnight ago. Like the excelleration she's shown on the track, she's come a long way in a short time.
ABOVE: Shamal Wind (Mark Zahra) powers away to win the fifth race at Flemington on Oaks Day from Brave Soul (left) and Isabella Snowflake.
2.34pm — Daniel Sankey reports: A super-impressive performance by the Robert Smerdon-trained Dubawi filly 13 SHAMAL WIND (Mark Zahra) in the fourth race of the day, the Gucci Icons of Heritage Stakes (1200m) for the fillies. A big drifter on track ($8.50 out to $12), Shamal Wind tracked the leader 7 ISABELLA SNOWFLAKE on the outside of the field as the 14 runners raced up the middle of the straight course before peeling out with 300m to go and effortlessly gapping the field. The Joe Pride-trained 8 BRAVE SOUL (Blake Shinn) got home well to grab second ahead of Isabella Snowflake, but was well-beaten by the winner who looks to have good ability and will go on to bigger and better things. How Shamal Wind got out to such a generous price is a mystery ... the punters didn't miss her on debut when she gave the field a five-length shellacking in a Ballarat maiden on October 25. On that day, she started a $1.85 favourite. Her supporters would today be laughing all the way to the bank! Shamal Wind's connections received a $60,000 cheque for her win today, a tidy taking given the filly cost just $55,000 as a yearling.
Race 4: Gucci Icons of Heritage Stakes (Listed, 3yo fillies, 1200m)
13 SHAMAL WIND $13.50, $4.30 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Mark Zahra. Trainer: Robert Smerdon.
8 BRAVE SOUL $2.30
Jockey: Blake Shinn. Trainer: Joe Pride.
7 ISABELLA SNOWFLAKE $2.30
Jockey: Craig Newitt. Trainer: Mick Price.
First Four (13,8,7,5): $2,84820
2.14pm: While the runners in race four make their way onto the track, it's time for Katewatch ... that's Kate Waterhouse watch for the uninitiated. The Fairfax fashion writer is currently enjoying what can only be described as a beautiful view in one of the corporate enclosures. As yet, we still haven't seen any tips tweeted from Kate (follow her @KateWaterhouse7), but if we were to hazard a guess, we think she might've given us a strong push for 5 TRIBAL ROCK in Race 9 ... if it wasn't scratched. It was to be the only runner today for her famous mum, Gai. Has the first lady of racing left the building already?
ABOVE: Kate Waterhouse enjoys some corporate hospitality. Follow Kate @KateWaterhouse7.
2.03pm — Daniel Sankey reports: Looking ahead now to Race 4 on the program, which is the Gucci Icons of Heritage Stakes for three-year-old fillies over 1200m. Watchers of our Rails Run video series (see video at the top of this article) would be well aware that Alan Eskander and the team at Betstar are prepared to take on 7 ISABELLA SNOWFLAKE today. The Not A Single Doubt filly, who's won her only two starts, is $5.50 on track but the Betstar team is currently offering $6.50. If you're a fan, you'll get a price! The on course favourite is the Darley filly, 5 MEIDUNG, but she's a big drifter — out to $4.80 on track after opening at $3.80. Peter Hanlon's fancy, 8 BRAVE SOUL, is solid at $6. The tips from the Fairfax experts are both at a good price — Andrew Eddy's selection, 11 SUMAKARAY, hasn't moved from her opening quote of $8 on track (but she's $8.50 with Betstar), while Patrick Bartley will be cheering if 6 SATURN ROCK can get home at her current quote of $15 on track ($17 with Betstar). The race starts at 2.20pm.
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 4
7 Isabella Snowflake
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 4
6 Saturn Rock
1 Cavalry Rose
1.51pm — Peter Hanlon reports: 1.51pm: Wrong bloody red and black horse! Bet TD and Vander were on Honey Flower, the right red and black horse. Oh well, onto the next. And the ridiculous omen bet for race four is 8 BRAVE SOUL, because it would be a brave soul (actually, a stupid one) who'd interpret seeing two washed-up Bombers on a train as another reason to empty the wallet.
ABOVE: Glen Boss celebrates the victory of Honey Flower in Race 3 on Oaks Day.
1.42pm — Daniel Sankey reports: Thrilling end to Race 3, the GH Mumm Stakes (1100m), with the Ross McDonald-trained 7 HONEY FLOWER (Glen Boss) holding off the fast-finishing 1 DYSTOPIA (Hugh Bowman) and 3 ANISE (Kerrin McEvoy). Boss showed why he's one of the most sought-after jockeys on big race days, taking a gamble by pulling his mount to the inside of runners to hit the front inside the 200m. Honey Flower, having just her eighth start today, to the late challenge of Dystopia to nab a close photo finish victory.
Race 3: GH Mumm Stakes (Listed, 4yo+ mares, 1100m)
7 HONEY FLOWER $11.40, $3.30 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Nash Rawiller. Trainer: Chris Waller
1 DYSTOPIA $2.80
Jockey: Hugh Bowman. Trainer: Chris Waller.
3 ANISE $4.20
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Peter Snowden.
First Four (7,1,3,11): $22,918.20
1.30pm: Runners on the track for Race 3 on Oaks Day, the GH Mumm Stakes for the mares over 1100m. Good money for 4 SERENE STAR (Craig Williams) on track — she's $6 int's o $5 and heads the betting form 1 DYSTOPIA (Hugh Bowman), who's out to $6.50 (from $6). Our tipsters both like 2 MRS ONASSIS (Brenton Avdulla)
ANDREW EDDY TIPS: Race 3
2 Mrs Onassis
4 Serene Star
14 Bolisimo Miss
16 Off And Laughing
PATRICK BARTLEY TIPS: Race 3
2 Mrs Onassis
6 Ever The Same
1.14pm — Peter Hanlon reports: Just shared a train ride to the track with Essendon premiership legends Terry Daniher and Paul Vander Haar. And of course, 'cos everything's an omen on race day, they were looking Ever The Same (next race, No.3, ridden by some bloke Oliver). And of course, Ever the Same's colours are ... red and black. Clear a path, I'm off to donate a few more dollars.
ABOVE: Niconoise, ridden by Michael Walker, edges ahead of Commanding Time, ridden by Glen Boss to win Race 2, the Swisse Wellness Trophy at Flemington on Oaks Day.
1.02pm — Daniel Sankey reports: An important breakthrough victory for beautifully-bred Redoute's Choice stallion 15 NICONOISE (Michael Walker) in the Swisse Wellness Trophy over 1800m. A half-brother to a couple of other David Hayes Group 1 performers in Niconero and Nicconi, Niconoise has so far failed to live up to the potential of his breeding, with just two victories from 13 starts coming into this race. However, the big spaces of Flemington seemed to suit the long-striding Niconoise, who should continue to improve over further. He proved too strong over the final stages for the consistent 3 COMMANDING TIME (Glen Boss), who tried his heart out, and 2 PELICANO (Matthew Neilson).
12 PICTURE EDITOR (James McDonald), who was well-backed at a price on course ($18 into $12), loomed up at the top of the straight and looked a winning chance but failed to run on and finished a 3.7-length sixth. A move for 4 ORBITAL MOTION ($9 into $8) also came a cropper ... he finished a disappointing 7.5-length 11th. The best backed runner late was 3 COMMANDING TIME, who fought hard but was no match for the winner, eventually going down by three-quarters of a length.
Race 2: Swisse Wellness Trophy (RB89, 1800m)
15 NICONOISE $9.20, $2.80 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Michael Walker. Trainer: David Hayes.
3 COMMANDING TIME $2.00
Jockey: Glen Boss. Trainer: Brendan McCarthy.
2 PELICANO $3.40
Jockey: Matthew Neilson. Trainer: Tony McEvoy.
First Four (15,3,2,5): $2,795.80
12.44pm: Race 2 on Oaks Day is the Swisse Wellness Trophy (1800m), a restricted benchmark 89 worth $100,000. And while they don't jump for another 15 minutes or so, there's already been a nice move for a couple at good odds. Trainer Mark Kavanagh has had a quiet Spring Carnival by his standards, but that could change if the push for 4 ORBITAL MOTION (Michael Rodd) proves correct. The Galileo gelding is $8 (in from $9), but is still in double figures on the tote. That won't last, punters! The other interesting runner is 12 PICTURE EDITOR (James McDonald), an imported Dansili stallion who actually raced against world champion Frankel last year. Okay, he was beaten 13 lengths in a Group 3 over 1408m ... but being beaten 13 lengths by Frankel is winning form against mere mortals. Picture Editor, now trained by Mike Moroney, has had three unplaced starts in Australia — the most recent a 10 length 11th of 13 at Caulfield over 2000m — but obviously there's a few punters who think today is the day, because he's been $18 into $12 on track.
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS: Race 2
3 Commanding Time
8 Rock Hit
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS: Race 2
4 Orbital Motion
3 Commanding Time
12.35pm —Suzanne Carbone reports: Anyone exhausted at 12.35pm? Never fear ... a seat awaits in the Lexus Design Pavilion in the Birdcage at Flemington on Oaks Day. The three-storey destination features a pop-up restaurant, with Simon Denton, the owner of Izakaya Den, providing the food (below, right). For sake's sake, just tuck in, will you! Over in the Swisse marquee, Sex and the City starlet Kim Cattrall (below left) has arrived, wearing Toni Maticevski. And not to be outdone on Oaks Day ... or is it blokes' day? ... are (below, middle) Christian Wagstaff, who's wearing Lanvin, and John Parker, wearing Gucci.
ABOVE, from left: Kim Cattrall is stylish in Toni Maticevski; Christian Wagstaff (Lanvin) and John Parker (Gucci) suit up; the Japanese delights by Izakaya Den's Simon Denton at the Lexus Design Pavilion.
12.30pm — Michael Lynch reports: It's something of an Oaks consolation stakes, but its still nice to win a race on a feature day at headquarters, especially when you are a Flemington based trainer. So Danny O'Brien was all smiles after the first race of the day, the 1700 metre Visit Victoria Plate, when his lightly raced filly Keep de Rose, toughed it out to win by a length and three quarters from the Darley candidate Triquetra, with top weight Moreau third. O'Brien said that the NZ bred filly, by Keeper, had a sound staying pedigree and would be targeted at the Oaks in Sydney in the autumn. If she doesn't come to hand in time she could also be aimed at staying fillies races in Adelaide or Brisbane, the trainer suggested.
''She got a bit lost from a wide barrier last start, she didn't really run up to what we needed her to to run in the Oaks, so it was a bit of a consolation today. She's only lightly raced, having here fourth start here, both her wins have been good so we are hoping we will get her to an Oaks in the autumn,'' O'Brien said. ''We were always going to be a be aggressive to make sure she got there, so that made the win a bit more meritorious. If we are going to go for some of those decent races in the autumn she needs a break now.''
ABOVE: Keep De Rose (Corey Brown) wins the first race at Flemington on Oaks Day.
12.22pm — Daniel Sankey reports: Jockey Corey Brown, who'll ride LA ZUMA in the Oaks later today, got off to a perfect start in the first race of the day, piloting 5 KEEP DE ROSE to a strong victory in the Visit Victoria Plate (1700m) for the three-year-old fillies. The Keeper filly, who was backed from $11 into $9 on course before drifting to start at $10, showed herself to be a stayer of some promise as she ground home to beat the unlucky 7 TRIQUETRA (Kerrin McEvoy), who didn't get clear until the closing stages, and the early leader 1 MOREAU (Michael Rodd). The well-backed favourite 2 GLADIUS (Craig Williams) got back to last and was given her chance to run home, but wasn't able to make ground.
Race 1: Visit Victoria Plate (RB72, 3yo fillies, 1700m)
5 KEEP DE ROSE $9.90, $2.80 (Victorian TAB)
Jockey: Corey Brown. Trainer: Danny O'Brien.
7 TRIQUETRA $1.90
Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy. Trainer: Anthony Freedman.
1 MOREAU $2.10
Jockey: Michael Rodd. Trainer: Dean Binaisse.
First Four (5,7,1,6): $1898.20
12.15pm: Close to a jump now in the first race of the day on Oaks Day at Flemington. 7 TRIQUETRA (Kerrin McEvoy) has been a massive drifter in the betting ring. The Darley filly is $4.40 out to $6. Best backed late has been Andrew Eddy's tip, 2 GLADIUS (Craig Williams), who's $5 (in from $5.50), while Patrick Bartley's tip 1 MOREAU (Michael Rodd) is at $5.50.
11.41am: A good betting race to start the day, with the Visit Victoria Plate (I'll wager a few people did this week), a restricted benchmark 72 for three-year-old fillies over 1700m. Darley's 7 TRIQUETRA (Kerrin McEvoy), a four-length to A Time For Julia on Caulfield Cup day, is the early favourite at $4.40, but she's only marginally ahead of 2 GLADIUS (Craig Williams) and 1 MOREAU (Michael Rodd).
ANDREW EDDY'S TIPS
5 Keep De Rose
6 Royal Amati
PATRICK BARTLEY'S TIPS
ABOVE: Watch our timelapse video of the creation of the Irish-themed Emirates marquee in the Birdcage.
11.32am: Fairfax fashion writer Kate Waterhouse is on her way to Flemington for Oaks Day (see her tweet below). Not only is Kate a dab hand with fashion writing (she is the Sydney Sun-Herald's fashion editor) but she hails from excellent racing stock. Kate, how about a few tips from your mum Gai or brother Tom? Congratulations must go to Tom Waterhouse for tipping Green Moon to win the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. You're a brave man, Tom, given you didn't tip Gai's Fiorente, who finished a brave second, or the free-running Glencadam Gold, who was sixth.
ABOVE: Follow Kate Waterhouse on Twitter @KateWaterhouse7.
11.16am — Suzanne Carbone reports: Kris Smith is the leading bloke at the Myer marquee on Oaks Day. Another key bloke is Myer chief Bernie Brookes, who celebrates his birthday today. Many happy returns to the cash register! Jennifer Hawkins has also arrived, and she didn't miss the chance to get a photo taken with Rebecca Judd.
ABOVE: From left: Jennifer Hawkins and Rebecca Judd arrive at the Myer marquee; fellow model Kris Smith cuts a dashing figure; a fashionista with Hollywood legs ... James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
11.12am — Daniel Sankey reports: If you were wondering what the latest news was on the disqualification of last year's Oaks-winning jockey, Danny Nikolic, you don't have long to wait. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will on November 28 hand down its decision on Nikolic's appeal against a two-year ban handed down after he was found guilty of threatening Victoria's chief racing steward Terry Bailey and his family. We were expecting a decision today ... but news to hand is that we'll know more at the end of the month.
11.06am — Michael Lynch reports: It's remarkable how often winners of the VRC Oaks — at least in modern times — fail to figure as leaders of their generation once they become older horses, particularly over staying trips. So any punters fired with enthusiasm by Green Moon's triumph on Tuesday should be wary of seeking Cups clues for next season out of today's Oaks. Read more here.
ABOVE: Relive Melbourne Cup Day with our timelapse video.
10.42am — Suzanne Carbone reports: It's Diva Day in the Lavazza marquee in the Flemington Birdcage, with Hollywood actor Mena Suvari, of American Beauty and American Pie fame, due to arrive at 1pm. She'll be dressed by Australian designer Aurelio Costarella. The other guest divas for Lavazza today are singer Ricki-Lee Coulter and DJ Vogue Williams. At the Swisse marquee, Sex and the City sexpot Kim Cattrall is due at midday and this morning, she's decided to wear a cream Toni Maticevski dress with Tony Bianco shoes and a Philip Treacy hat. Maticevski is being chauffered in specially to meet her.
10.38am — Daniel Sankey reports: A 12.20pm jump for the first race is a much more civilised starting time for most of the racing journos, who are filing into the press room in the Flemington mounting yard as I type. Once again, most of the best spots are now taken up by the general public along the rails, even though we're still hours from the first. Some clouds in the sky, but there doesn't look to be any threat of rain at the moment (although that is probably going to change by the end of the day.
ABOVE: The view from the mounting yard at Flemington at 10.45am on Oaks Day.
10.06am — Daniel Sankey reports: The Oaks field jumps at 3.40pm (Melbourne time) today ... but now's as good a time as any to see how the betting is shaping up. No surprise to see the Wakeful winner 2 ZYDECO at the top of the market. She was $2.35 with Betstar this time yesterday, but has firmed into $2.20 since and is a dominant favourite ahead of 1 DEAR DEMI ($5) and 8 SUMMERBLISS ($8). They're the only three runners under double figures. If you're looking for value, Zabeel filly 11 LA ZUMA was luckless in the Wakeful and looks like she'll stay all day, while if you can forgive the Wakeful effort of 10 TYANNA ($51), where she found trouble, she appeals at big odds. Tyanna is a daughter of Fastnet Rock out of the Group 2 Adelaide Cup-winning mare, Lacey Underall ... so you'd think the 2500m would be right up her alley.
9.47am — Michael Sharkie reports: Americain may have run his last race following his unplaced effort in the Melbourne Cup, but there's more big races on the agenda for some of the beaten international brigade. Luca Cumani's Mount Athos (Japan Cup) and My Quest For Peace (Hong Kong) will switch their focus to Asian racing, as will Melbourne Cup third placegetter Jakkalberry and last year's runner-up Red Cadeaux (both Japan Cup). Read the full story here.
ABOVE: Click on Angela Wylie's Walkley Award-winning image from 2005 to see more photographs of Oaks Days past.
9.03am: Matthew Benns, the author of Fixed: Cheating, Doping, Rape and Murder — The Inside Track on Australia's Racing Industry, today says the only thing that could have been worse than Damien Oliver riding in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup would be Damien Oliver winning it on Americain. The Spring Racing Carnival has been shadowed by illegal betting allegations levelled at champion jockey Damien Oliver, while the Danny Nikolic vs Terry Bailey war has continued to rage. It seems difficult to believe that just 12 months ago, we were toasting the genius of Nikolic as he steered Mosheen to victory in the 2011 Oaks. You can read Matthew Benns' feature here.
8.38am: The interesting runner in today's Crown Oaks is undoubtedly the Mick Kent-trained 8 SUMMERBLISS, who will be having just her third start today. There's plenty of good judges (including Fairfax's keen form student Patrick Bartley, who's tipped her on top today) who think the daughter of Danehill Dancer is a major player in the Group 1 2500m test for the three-year-old fillies. Kent spoke with Andrew Eddy yesterday, and described Summerbliss as a natural stayer. Read the full story here. Summerbliss won her maiden in strong fashion on October 3, before a solid second, beaten less than a length by 4 ALZORA, in the Ethereal Stakes at Caulfield on October 20. It's a different formline to the favoured fillies 2 ZYDECO and 1 DEAR DEMI, who both come through the Wakeful Stakes.
8.08am: If you're watching the Channel 7 coverage of Crown Oaks Day and you're planning to have a stab at the quaddie, or a bet in the last race, bear in mind that the last race won't be shown. To see race 9, you'll need to switch over to digital channel 7TWO. The race will then be shown on delay on Sky Racing and TVN.
7.57am: The boys at the Roughies are back today with their Oaks preview. There's been plenty of value to be had throughout the Flemington carnival, and the boys have their eyes on a few on the Oaks Day program. Read the full update here.
ABOVE: Dear Demi (left) is one of the favourites for today's Crown Oaks.
7.53am: Clarry Conners, the trainer of Oaks second pick 1 DEAR DEMI, believes it's a race in two between his filly and the favourite, 2 ZYDECO. For Conners, thought, it's a matter of praying for some much needed good. He said Dear Demi had suffered from a couple of bad rides in Sydney before having no luck in the Thousand Guineas and the Wakeful leading into the Oaks. "In the Thousand Guineas she drew 18 and had to go back. She was a little bit unlucky, she should have run as close as second," Conners said, before pointing out that Dear Demi couldn't get a crack at them in the Wakeful, in which she finished a three-length fourth. "Hopefully we've used all that bad luck and it'll be good luck today."
7.45am: Scratchings are in at Flemington today ... just the 15 on the program today, but most importantly the Crown Oaks is clear. The rail is out 5m the entire course, while the track is currently a Dead 4 (penotrometer 4.76)— a mainly fine day predicted, so here's hoping we get to a Good 3 later today. Things should be fine for the Oaks ... but there is a chance of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. A maximum temperature of 21 degrees expected.
Race 1: Nil
Race 2: 7 CANONIZED, 8 ROCK HIT
Race 3: 17 ARCTIC FLIGHT, 18 LOUISVILLE DANCER, 19 SPOT ON MAGGIE, 20 ROSE PATTERN
Race 4: Nil
Race 5: 13 LA POUPEE, 18 STARDOM, 19 HOT POWER, 20 SAFARI
Race 6: Nil
Race 7: Nil
Race 8: 9 CASCABEL, 12 COUNTER SIGN, 16 UNPRETENTIOUS
Race 9: 5 TRIBAL ROCK, 13 CAPE CLEAR