Trainer John McArdle is eyeing his second VRC Oaks after Smart As You Think confirmed plans to target the Classic with a victory over older horses at Moonee Valley.
McArdle won the Oaks at Flemington 12 years ago with Hollow Bullet and, after her win in a fillies and mares open handicap over 2040m on Friday night, Smart As You Think has firmed to $10 to give him a second.
By So You Think out of Satirical Lady, Smart As You Think was bought at the Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast last year for $260,000, with syndicator Rob Slade and McArdle intent on securing her with a view to the Classic.
“The day we bought her we planned to have a crack at the Oaks,” McArdle said.
“We’ve had a few hiccups along the way and thought we were going to miss out because of that, but fortunately we’ve got her back on track.
“Both of us loved her and we were always going to be pretty strong to get her.
“We probably went a bit more than we thought we were going to have to to get her, but we were happy to and hopefully we get repaid in the not too distant future.”
McArdle said the filly had a couple of foot abscesses which interrupted her campaign but she got back on track with a third at Caulfield before her win on Friday night.
“She’s still a bit immature and I didn’t want to run her in the Wakeful (Stakes),” McArdle said.
“That’s why I ran her against the older mares on Friday night. And fortunately it worked out.”
McArdle said Smart As You Think and Hollow Bullet had few similarities but he hoped they had at least one thing in common when it comes to the Oaks on November 3.
“Hollow Bullet looked like a sprinter and this filly looks like a true stayer,” he said.
“Obviously because of what’s happened we’ve had to go on a completely different path.
“This filly, her staying prowess is the best part of her. Hollow Bullet sat and used her sprinting ability.
“There’s not a lot of similarities but hopefully we get the same result.”