Taking on Shamrocker is a daunting task but connections of Dating believe the New Zealand filly has the right credentials to be a threat in Saturday’s AJC Australian Oaks at Randwick.
Dating is raced by the famous Waikato Stud which plundered the Oaks (2400m) two years ago with Daffodil.
Like Daffodil, Dating comes into the race off an unlucky fourth in the New Zealand Oaks where she struggled to get clear running in the straight, and in another case of deja vu she has the services of Hugh Bowman.
“She should have won the New Zealand Oaks,” co-trainer Debbie Rogerson said.
“She got flattened and couldn’t get out.
“We think she’s pretty good but just how the New Zealand form stacks up against the fillies here is the big question.
“Hopefully she’s up to them. One thing we know is that she will stay the distance.”
Dating arrived in Australia on Wednesday night and Rogerson said she had coped well with the trip.
“She did all her serious work at home and arrived here fit and well and ate well,” she said.
“She hasn’t had a lot of luck in either of her past two runs so it would be nice if she could get some in the Oaks.”
Shamrocker’s dominant win in last week’s AJC Australian Derby has her poised to become just the second filly to claim the double, 22 years after Research.
The Danny O’Brien-trained filly is the $2.50 favourite ahead of Brazilian Pulse ($4.60) who beat her in the VRC Oaks, with Dating a $23 chance in Friday’s TAB Sportsbet market.
Although three of Dating’s four wins have been on heavy tracks, Rogerson doesn’t believe she is just a mudlark.
“It’s just the way it’s worked out,” she said.
“It won’t disadvantage her as much as some of the others if it rains but she has been the unlucky runner in both her last two starts and they were on good tracks.”
If Shamrocker does the job it will still be a victory for Waikato Stud where her sire O’Reilly is the number one stallion.
O’Reilly is also the sire of Dating and the farm’s interest in the Oaks is heightened by the presence of Do Ra Mi and Shamrocker’s stablemate Placement who are both by another famous Waikato Stud stallion, Savabeel, the 2004 Cox Plate winner as a three-year-old when trained by Graeme Rogerson.
The Peter Moody-trained Do Ra Mi beat Brazilian Pulse to win last month’s Kewney stakes while Placement is still a maiden but showed her staying ability when third in the 2500m VRC Oaks.