The 2018 Kennedy Oaks headlines a big day of racing at Flemington on Thursday and we are set for a fascinating edition of the Group 1 event.
Amphitrite was a surprise inclusion in the Kennedy Oaks field and she is set to start the race as favourite following her luckless run in the Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Can Amphitrite deliver Darren Weir a maiden win in the Kennedy Oaks or will there be an upset?
We have analysed all 15 runners and our complete 2018 Kennedy Oaks tips can be found below.
Amphitrite is clearly the best horse in the Kennedy Oaks and the whole question is whether she can run out a strong 2500 metres. She could hardly have been more impressive when she savaged the line in the Thousand Guineas and she had no luck in running on Victoria Derby Day in the Empire Rose Stakes. The step-up to 2500 metres is the obvious concern, but class will take her a long way and the Empire Rose Stakes into Kennedy Oaks double is not unprecedented – Mosheen did it in 2011. I am always happy to back the class runner in a race like the Kennedy Oaks and Amphitrite is definitely that.
Aristia chased home Verry Elleegant in the Ethereal Stakes and she relished the step-up to 2000 metres when she scored an upset win in the Wakeful Stakes. You can’t knock that form and she has improved each time that she has been seen at the races. In saying that, I don’t think she has much upside as some of her rivals and I can’t get her as short as her current price.
Qafila had not shown a great deal this campaign, but she stamped herself as a genuine Kennedy Oaks with a strong staying performance in the Wakeful Stakes. The way that she found the line suggests that she will have no issues running out a strong 2500 metres. The wide barrier draw is something of a query and she looks to have found her right price.
Verry Elleegant is the main danger to her stablemate Amphitrite in the Kennedy Oaks. She was beaten as a short-priced favourite in the Wakeful Stakes, but she still found the line nicely and she ran the best closing sectionals in the race. Darren Weir will have her ready to run out a strong 2500 metres in the Kennedy Oaks and there is no fitter horse in this field.
Greysful Glamour was excellent in the Kennedy Oaks Trial at Flemington, but she was soundly beaten in the Ethereal Stakes and she hasn’t been seen at the races since. It is very tough to back her in a race like the Kennedy Oaks off that effort.
Sizzleme has been thereabouts in both the Ethereal Stakes and the Wakeful Stakes and looks likely to take up the running in the early stages of this contest. The wide barrier draw shouldn’t be an issue as she does have the early speed to cross her rivals. I’m not sure that she is classy enough to win, but I expect her to be in the race for a long way.
Dark Confidant was handily beaten in both the Edward Manifold Stakes and the Ethereal Stakes. She did hit the line strongly in both of those races, but she does look a level below what will be required to win this race.
Miss Moana goes into the Kennedy Oaks on the back of a maiden win at Newcastle. She should have no issues running out the trip and John Sargent has an excellent record with three-year-old fillies. This is still a huge step-up in class.
Maracaibo scored back-to-back wins at Canberra and Benalla and is a filly with upside. She is another that will settle right on the speed and she should be in the race for a long way.
Scamper claimed her maiden race win at Yarra Valley and is another filly that is rising in class significantly. Another filly with promise, but $41 seems fair.
Zapurler rounds out the Darren Weir trio in this field and she has the benefit of Hugh Bowman in the saddle. Her last start win at Echuca was excellent and I can see why there has been some support for the High Chaparral filly, but this is still a huge step-up in class and $13 does seem under the odds.
Collectable savaged the line in the Ethereal Stakes and she has been freshened-up for this contest. The 2500 metres does seem ideal and she has the benefit of James McDonald in the saddle. She doesn’t have to get as far back as she did last start.
Exclusively Ours failed to beat home a runner in the Wakeful Stakes. She is the extreme outsider of the field for a reason.
Miner’s Miss won last start at Avoca and you won’t see a bigger step-up in class than this. Michelle Payne has pulled off a miracle at Flemington before, but a Kennedy Oaks win does seem unlikely.
Lesdei has been beaten in maidens at Cranbourne and Kilmore. Lasqueti Spirit did it at big odds, but you couldn’t possibly have Lesedi on its lead-up form.