David Hayes is looking to make a late run for next month’s VRC Oaks with lightly-raced filly Flame Of Lanka.
The three-year-old will have only her third start in Saturday’s Listed Essendon Jeep Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley and if she runs well may not run again before the Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 3.
The Valley event has been a successful race for the Hayes stable which won it three years in a row with Manna Miss (2006), Miss Marielle (2007) and Bauble (2008).
All three were ridden by Craig Williams who will also ride Flame Of Lanka.
“It is race we have always tried to set one for,” Hayes said.
Flame Of Lanka was beaten on debut at Mornington when a fast-finishing second over 1200 metres but was impressive when scoring by 2-1/2 lengths over 1400 metres at Morphettville a month later on October 3.
“If she wins or runs home nicely at Moonee Valley we will look at the Oaks with her,” Hayes said.
Notably Flame Of Lanka is by Redoute’s Choice who was the sire of Hayes’ 2006 VRC Oaks winner Miss Finland.
Hayes said he wanted to avoid a clash with Mark Kavanagh’s unbeaten Thousand Guineas winner Atlantic Jewel which may rule out a start in the traditional Oaks lead-up, the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
“If Kav’s horse runs in the Wakeful I might dodge it and go straight into the Oaks with the fresh horse on the scene,” Hayes said.