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Gai Waterhouse has a first VRC Oaks in her sights with Pinot

Champion trainer Gai Waterhouse has a first VRC Oaks in her sights with Pinot after the blueblood filly stamped her credentials with an impressive win in the Ethereal Stakes.

Pinot is by Waterhouse’s former star galloper Pierro out of 2005 Australian Oaks winner Dizelle.

She has firmed from $8 into $4.40 second favourite behind Thousand Guineas winner Aloisia ($3.50) for the $1 million VRC Oaks (2500m) after Saturday’s front-running victory at Caulfield.

“I made up my mind this year I wanted to win the VRC Oaks,” Waterhouse said.

“It was the only thing I wanted to win. I knew I had some nice fillies around me, so it might just happen.”

Pinot was forced to work from a wide gate to eventually cross to the front under Stephen Baster in Saturday’s 2000m Group Three race for fillies.

Baster then got the equal $5.50 favourite into a rhythm in front before kicking strongly around the home turn to open a three-length lead.

Pinot wandered in the straight but her rivals couldn’t get near her, defeating Rimraam ($21) by 1-3/4 lengths with another length to Hiyaam ($7.50) third.

Baster, who earlier won on Our Crown Mistress for the stable, is convinced Pinot will relish the Oaks distance.

“I didn’t want to drive her out and be too keen so I took my time coming across, but I did some work,” he said.

“I was wide for a long time.

“All credit to her, she was amazing.”

Waterhouse will decide whether the filly runs in the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) in two weeks, five days before the Oaks.

“It’s a long time between now and the Oaks so she’s probably better to go to the Wakeful, but let’s just take each race as it comes,” Waterhouse said.

“This is a filly who came to Victoria and was beaten in her first start easily (at Bendigo). She’s just gone from strength to strength.”

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