The astute eyes of trainer Guy Walter know an Oaks winner when they see one and Zuccotto fits the bill.
The filly runs in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes (2000m) to stake her claim for the fillies Classic five days later with her trainer convinced she has what it takes.
She hails from the same family as Tie The Knot, the best horse Walter believes will ever pass through his stable.
The unexpected death of the 13-time Group One winner last weekend has added incentive to the trainer’s mission to get the filly to the Oaks.
Like Tie The Knot, Zuccotto is raced by her breeders the Tait family and sports the famous red and white colours carried to victory by Tie The Knot and many of his stablemates in Walter’s care.
Among them was 2004 Australian Oaks winner Wild Iris, another filly Walter took from restricted class to Group One winner with cautious placement and a sense of timing.
Zuccotto goes to the Wakeful at her fifth race start having had a slight hiccup on the way when she missed a run in the Ethereal Stakes.
“She was off colour for about 24 hours but it was nothing serious,” Walter said.
“She is a big, staying type of filly and now that she has got a run in the Wakeful I’m sure she will show what she is capable of.
“It would be nice for all involved with the family if she could perform well.”
The Clarry Conners-trained Dear Demi is the race favourite following her second to Commanding Jewel in last month’s Thousand Guineas.
Conners’ ambitious autumn prophecy Dear Demi could be the next Research has hit a few hurdles this spring but he is still confident she can emulate the 1988 Wakeful-Oaks winner who went on to win the AJC Australian Derby/Oaks double and was crowned Horse of the Year for her three-year-old season.
Her second-up win in the Group Two Furious Stakes (1400m) was followed by an unlucky fourth in the Tea Rose (1500m).
Her third over 1600 metres in the Group One Flight Stakes almost convinced Conners to step her up over more ground but he kept her to the distance in the Thousand Guineas.
With Jim Cassidy replacing James McDonald, Dear Demi ran home for second after being held up for a run in the final stages after a master piece of horsemanship to get her across from the outside gate to the fence.
Zydeco, who finished third in the Thousand Guineas, remained the TAB fixed odds favourite at $2.70 on Friday for the Wakeful ahead of Dear Demi ($3.20) and the two occupy the same positions in the market at $3 and $4 respectively for Thursday’s Oaks.
Zuccotto was an $11 chance in both races.