Harlow Gold will have a jockey other than Regan Bayliss for the first time when she bids to go one better in the ATC Australian Oaks than the Victorian equivalent.
Bayliss has ridden Harlow Gold in her 10 starts, including her second in last spring’s VRC Oaks at Flemington, but was suspended for careless riding in an eventful finish to the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes in which Harlow Gold finished third.
Mark Zahra takes over on Harlow Gold in Saturday’s Oaks (2400m) at Randwick and the filly shares the second line of betting with Vinery runner-up Nurse Kitchen at $6.
Vinery winner Montoya’s Secret has been treated after injuring a leg and is likely to be redirected to the Adelaide carnival in May.
New Zealand Oaks winner Bonneval is the $4.60 favourite to give Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman as second Classic in Sydney following Jon Snow’s Australian Derby win on Saturday.
Harlow Gold has also finished third in The Vanity and fourth in the Australian Guineas on her way to the Oaks.
“I think she’s right on track,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
“She handled the wet the other day and we know she runs the trip so you’ve got to think she’s got a chance.
“We tried to set her for the Oaks. She was terrific in the VRC Oaks, it was just that tearaway leader (Lasqueti Spirit) who she couldn’t peg back.
“I’d say, without seeing the final field, she would have to be one of the top three or four chances.”
Harlow Gold will gallop on the Randwick course proper on Tuesday and Dabernig said the filly had come through the Vinery well.
“I think she’s improved,” he said.
Dabernig said the Lindsay Park team could accept with English import Harlem in Saturday’s $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
Harlem was third to Palentino and Tosen Stardom in his Australian debut in the Blamey Stakes and is at $201 with bookie Sportsbet for the Queen Elizabeth.
“We’re just thinking outside of Winx, it might drop away,” Dabernig said
“His heavy track form probably doesn’t look that flash on paper so I don’t know whether we will or not. We might run in the Easter Cup (at Caulfield the following week).”