Leon Macdonald believes Pretty Punk can be a genuine VRC Oaks contender but the filly will have to earn her way to Flemington via the Geelong Classic.
It is a race the Adelaide trainer has used to effect in the past, most notably with Pretty Punk’s sire Rebel Raider who ran third at Geelong in 2008 before springing a 100-1 upset over odds-on favourite Whobegotyou in the Victoria Derby.
Macdonald has won the Geelong Classic (2200m) twice with Gamblin’ Guru (2013) and Gallant Guru (2005).
Pretty Punk has already distinguished herself as the first stakes winner for Rebel Raider with her last-start win in the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville.
Macdonald, who now trains in partnership with Andrew Gluyas, wants to see her raise the bar again on Wednesday to put herself in the frame as a late entry for the Oaks (2500m) on November 3.
“The Vase at Moonee Valley looked a stronger race and the Wakeful on Derby day comes after the late acceptances are taken,” Macdonald said.
“If she wins the Geelong Classic she pays her own way in.”
Pretty Punk ran fourth at her first three starts and second at her fourth.
It wasn’t until she stepped up beyond 1200 metres she showed what she could do.
“When she stepped up to 1400 metres she won by eight lengths and over 1800 in the stakes race she came from behind and blew them away,” Macdonald said.
“She ran home quicker than the sprinters on the day.
“I think over 2200 metres she will be very hard to beat.”
Pretty Punk is the $5 second favourite behind Godolphin’s Nemrud at $3.80 and will be ridden by Nick Hall, winner of Saturday’s Caulfield Cup on Jameka.