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A year ago, Donna Logan sent the favourite out in the ATC Oaks only to be disappointed when Habibi injured herself during the race and finished a distant fourth.

The New Zealand trainer is back again with Rising Romance and keeping her fingers crossed everything goes well on Saturday.

So far so good, with Sydney’s weather on the improve and the track expected to be upgraded to slow.

Rising Romance finished fourth in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 5 after a chequered run on the heavy track.

The Vinery was won by Lucia Valentina who was promoted to favourite for the Oaks (2400m) ahead of Zanbagh and Rising Romance who had each headed the market at various times.

“I had a look at the track this morning and it looks pretty good,” Logan said.

“It’s nice to see some good weather. Rising Romance has really thrived and is really relaxed.

“She loves it here.”

Lucia Valentina joined the Kris Lees stable at Newcastle after she ran second to Rising Romance in a 2000m Group Two race in New Zealand on New Year’s Day.

Rising Romance went on to run second to Puccini in the Avondale Guineas and the New Zealand Derby.

“She went to the Vinery with five weeks between runs and I know the extra distance of the Oaks will suit her,” Logan said.

Lees can see now reason why the distance will trouble Lucia Valentina who was placed in her first two starts for him before her Group One win.

“She hasn’t shown any signs that she shouldn’t handle it. She was strong through the line at 2000 (metres),” Lees said.

“She can do no more than win and she’s probably taken good improvement out of every run, so she’s going the right way.

“She doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of going over the top. I think she’s had the right preparation for it.”

Zanbagh finished just behind Rising Romance in the Vinery after going back early from her wide barrier.

The Guy Walter-trained filly should get a better run from gate six as she tries to emulate her mother Wild Iris, the winner of the 2004 Oaks.

Zanbagh finished a close second in the Victorian equivalent in the spring and won the Keith Nolan Classic before her Vinery fifth.

 
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