Chris Waller has taken blinkers off Iron Lace for Saturday’s AJC Australian Oaks to give the filly her best chance at trying to upstage the favourites.
Iron Lace won three straight races through February and March to earn her shot at the fillies features.
The daughter of Encosta De Lago was given her chance in the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on April 2 and came in five lengths adrift of the winner Mirjulisa Lass.
“She overraced in the Vinery and I’m hoping taking the blinkers off will help her settle and therefore see her run a strong 2400 metres,” Waller said.
“She is a mature filly that has had the groundwork to get 2400 metres and it would be nice to see her running in the money in what looks to be a very competitive Oaks field.”
Waller was looking at either the AJC Australian Oaks or the Queensland Oaks with Iron Lace and when the filly won three straight he decided to give the Sydney features a crack.
“She did nothing wrong leading into her last start so we pressed on to the Vinery and I would have loved to have seen her finish in the first three there but she ran sixth,” Waller said.
“I didn’t want to back off and then go to Queensland and we’ve got her this far and hopefully the gear change works.”
One of the fillies to beat Iron Lace home in the Vinery was runner-up Fibrillation who has had an ideal Oaks preparation, according to trainer Tim Martin.
Fibrillation has finished second in both the Keith Nolan Classic (1800m) and the Vinery, and Martin is hoping for rain to bring the grey filly right into the Oaks picture.
“I’m very happy with her preparation but I’m really worried about (favourite) Shamrocker,” Martin said.
“She is going to be very hard to beat but my filly is going well, a mile and a half shouldn’t pose a problem and we know she’ll handle the wet if we get any rain.”
The 17-horse Oaks field was reduced by one on Friday when the Lee Freedman-trained Becerra was scratched.