The Roughies' guide to the Crown Oaks
Need a big-priced First Four or Quaddie to get you out of a hole this Spring Carnival? The Roughies are back to put some value into your punting on Crown Oaks Day.
Group 1 Gav
If the Spring Carnival was a football match, Cup Day would be the Premiership Quarter. Any early gains can be swept away in the madness of the biggest and most random racecard of the year. The "Group One" household had been happily contemplating some negative gearing investments, until Ethiopia switched into reverse gear. From the heart of Abyssinia to the edge of the abyss.
On a positive note, it's been a Cup Week for the roughies — a six-figure Derby Day quaddie and a million dollar Cup First Four. They say you have to go through the valleys to get to the mountains (unless it is Mount Athos of course, where it looks as if you'll get there, you threaten to get there, but you never quite get there). Final quarter coming up, winners are still there to be found.
CROWN OAKS TIPS
There's only ever two possibilities in The Oaks — a precise re-enactment of the 1000 Guineas and Wakeful form or the faster fillies get tired and the slowburners become rising stars.
• 11 LA ZUMA ($23): Looked a treat in the yard on Derby Day and has always had the Oaks as her focus, and nothing else.
• 1 DEAR DEMI ($4.20): Has been carrying weight and was unlucky last start. If her campaign can stretch one more start, she'll be right in this.
• 2 ZYDECO ($2.40F): Everything in her preparation has been textbook perfect. A deserving favourite.
• 5 TRANSONIC ($19): Honest filly who will be on pace had be hard to hold out for fourth.
Two at odds to consider are 11 KATE ($41) who has potential ready to be switched on and 14 GONDOKORO ($21) who is well-bred and will appreciate a much more conducive ride, if Rhys McLeod is in the mood.
• Race 4: 1 CAVALRY ROSE is very impressive, and shouldn't be too worried by being topweight. $10 is a very generous price.
• Race 8: 10 STRATCOMBE ($19) may finish last, considering his troubled Spring, but certainly has the ability to win given the right attitude.
ABOVE: Kerrin McEvoy brings Zydeco back to scale after her win in the Wakeful Stakes.
Vatuvei's win in the Moonee Valley Cup and Kelinni in the Lexus averted some potentially embarrassing issues regarding forthcoming school fee payments, though much was obliterated when Derby Day anchor Howmuchdoyouloveme spurned any affection after travelling 400 metres. Seeking respite with wager #7 in the race that stops the nation, quiet weeping occurred when Prebble let fly on the "Moonstar" from the famous Flemington clock tower. Confidence restored. Reloaded and ready for an assault Oaks Day.
CROWN OAKS TIPS
In the feature, anyone who saw 2 ZYDECO ($2.40) in Saturday's Wakeful romp could not have been more impressed with her well-timed closing finish. At those odds, none of us will get rich in a hurry, so the trick is to top line her in exotic bets. Expecting 6 MARAATIB ($19) to put in a "Rawnaq" performance from the tail of the field — she will come with the favourite wide out and may make a race of it. Stablemate 4 ALZORA ($19) displayed her staying potential last start, swooping and knocking down a few late in a driving finish. Should be better for that experience. If 7 IRELAND'S TEARDROP ($101) can overcome a tricky draw for a 'go forward' horse, she may provide the value in the exotics with her grinding racing style.
Next best would be 8 SUMMBERBLISS ($6), who is uniquely facing the starter for the third time only in a Group One 2500m race, and 1 DEAR DEMI ($4), who was forced to take inside gaps in the Wakeful and was noticeably squeezed when making her run.
• Race 7: Been waiting for 11 ALI VITAL ($18) in Race 7 to make his metropolitan debut on a big track. Extra 200m will suit this backmarker in a race that hopefully has some genuine speed. Believe he may be a horse of the future and this stable has had some recent success in this particular race.
ABOVE: Dear Demi (left) is one of the favourites for today's Crown Oaks.
It has been some years since we finished on the wrong side over the four days at Flemington. As winning here invariably must cover a good part of the rest of the year, seeping relief reigns over unbridled joy. Vatuvei, Fontelina and a host of valuable seconds, you're owed an apple. A firm policy of chasing long prices requires strong nerves and patience. Not because it's a long time between drinks as exotics now mean that a single wild fourth can be more than enough. No, it's Stockholm Syndrome that's the problem. Symptoms you may recognise include reading the field from the bottom up, studying the odds before, or as opposed to, the form, and betting wide in every race. The cure is to remember that just like any good bookmaker you're just dutifully laying the favourites. I'm not sure that's necessarily the best policy with this Oaks though where the favourites have the advantage of the better staying bloodlines, form and wily conditioners.
CROWN OAKS TIPS
• 8 SUMMBERBLISS ($8 Betstar): Looks every inch an Oaks filly. Her sustained finish last time was a fine trial.
• 2 ZYDECO ($2.35 generally): Easy Wakeful win sees her predictably overbet but that doesn't mean the form is wrong.
• 1 DEAR DEMI ($5 Betstar): Has been up a long time but looks well and has always been running on against the best.
• 12 ZUCCOTTO ($22 Betfair): looks as though she'll be better later and has no manners but is here for a reason.
• 14 GONDOKORO ($26 Betstar): Probably can't win but is big overs at $60 Betfair and has been ridden poorly at her lasttwo.
• A great supplementary card bursting with value. The greys race is the best ever edition. Race 2 is a weak affair in which 6 ABOVE and 16 MONT DANE, at $46 and $61 respectively with Centrebet, can improve sharply.