Ron Quinton has called on his experience as an Oaks-winning trainer and jockey to declare Crafty Irna a genuine AJC Oaks contender.
Quinton rode three AJC Oaks winners during a distinguished career in the saddle and has since trained a VRC Oaks winner in Bulla Borghese.
Crafty Irna, who earned a start in the $550,000 AJC Oaks at Randwick on Saturday with her Adrian Knox Stakes victory, passes Quinton’s assessment of an Oaks filly.
“She’s worthy of taking her place in an Oaks field,” Quinton said.
“In fact she’s going into the race off a similar preparation as Bulla Borghese had.
“Her lead-in run was over 2000 metres and it’s been the same with Crafty Irna.
“Really, Crafty Irna has just trained on beautifully this preparation. Everything has been like clockwork.”
In spite of Quinton’s optimism, bookmakers have ignored the significance of the Adrian Knox form this year with Crafty Irna rated a $26 chance to complete the double.
The AJC Australian Derby winner Shamrocker ($3.20) and the VRC Oaks heroine Brazilian Pulse ($3.60) dominate betting.
Quinton thinks Shamrocker’s Derby victory over the colts and geldings is the obvious form line to respect.
“The Derby winner (Shamrocker) is entitled to be favourite and she will be very, very hard to beat,” he said.
“But my filly won’t be out of place because she’s bred to stay and there was a lot I liked about her win on Saturday.
“She was exposed quite early and on the line she still going stronger than anything.”
Quinton said Crafty Irna had taken no harm from her Adrian Knox win but she would have a light time on the track this week because of a seven-day back-up.
“She won’t need to do a lot,” he said. “She’ll just poke along.
“The good thing is that she ate up on Saturday night after the run and she ate up well on Sunday.”
It took Crafty Irna seven starts to break maiden ranks but Quinton gave an insight into her potential when he ran her in the Group One Flight Stakes at just her fourth outing during the Sydney spring carnival.