A midweek win at Randwick has boosted one New Zealand filly’s chances of a Queensland Oaks start but another may struggle to make the field despite victory at Ipswich.
And although Provocative is on the borderline, she is the $7.50 second favourite for the Group One Classic on June 4 after Wednesday’s Ipswich win while Randwick winner Romantic Maid is at $12.
The $12,000 Ipswich first prize took the Tony Pike-trained Provocative’s earnings to $30,278 while Romantic Maid has now amassed $47,582.
It’s been a much harder road to the Oaks for Romantic Maid than trainer Roger James envisaged, with the filly losing her rider in a Group Two race at Ellerslie last month.
She ran third at Rosehill last Saturday week and, with the addition of blinkers on Wednesday, lived up to her favouritism to score a determined win over 2000m.
“She wasn’t going to get a start in the Doomben Roses on Saturday so we had to come here instead,” James said.
“There is a bit of relief. She should have sealed a Queensland Oaks start with that run.
“Michael Rodd rode her at Rosehill and suggested the blinkers.
“She has worked in them and it’s something I’ve had in mind so we decided to go with it.”
Provocative ($1.80), who had good form around Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate winner Mackintosh, was not comfortable on the tight Ipswich tack but scored an easy win two-length win over 2100m.
Pike said if she failed the make the Oaks field, Provocative could instead run in the Queensland Derby a week later.
“She is a Zabeel filly who is pretty promising. The track didn’t suit her today but she will be much better on a bigger track,” he said.
James, who won the 2000 Queensland Oaks with Giovana, also has hopes of a Queensland Derby win with The Hassler.
“He will gallop between races at Te Rapa on Saturday and come over after that,” James said.
“I’ve never won a Queensland Derby and I think he’s the horse to do it.”