The Australian Oaks is one of four Group 1 races scheduled to be run this Saturday on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.   

Ten three-year-old fillies have accepted for the 2400m staying feature looking to claim their share of the $1 million prize money.   

New Zealand fillies have a rich history in the race, but they’ve been particularly successful in recent times with Pennyweka winning last year’s edition along with Bonneval (2017), Sofia Rose (2016) and Rising Romance (2014).  

This year the Kiwis will have a strong hand led by race favourite Orchestral and ably supported by Quintessa.   

Champion trainer Chris Waller has won four of the past 11 editions of the race and will be represented by Tutta La Vita who caught the eye in the major lead up race, the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes

Our analysis on every filly in this year’s Australian Oaks field is provided below. (Prices current at time of publication) 

1. Orchestral (3)   

Price: $1.60

New Zealand’s top-rated three-year-old is building an impressive resume with six wins from her nine career starts. 

The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained daughter of Savabeel has been installed as a red hot favourite. 

While there’s no meat on the bone with the price, she looks hard to beat following her impressive win in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes last start where she ran down Tutta La Vita.   

She was a month between runs so will strip fitter here and the rise to 2400m will suit given she bolted in by 3.8 lengths in the New Zealand Derby over this distance two starts ago.  

James McDonald remains in the saddle and can give her a lovely run and take her winning streak to six. 

2. Quintessa (2)    

Price: $14.00

Te Akau Racing announced this week that their mighty mare Imperatriz has retired so they will be hoping this girl can fill the void as their headline act. 

The Mark Walker-trained daughter of Shamus Award is a Group 1 winner in New Zealand having won the Levin Classic in January. 

She had her first Australian race two starts ago where she settled back in the Group 1 Australian Guineas before hitting the line hard to finish fourth to Southport Tycoon. 

Last start she came agonisingly close to winning the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes when run down on the line to finish a nose second. 

There was plenty of merit in the run given she was galloped on and lost a plate.  

She is untested at 2400m so there is a concern whether she will run the race out strongly, but she maps to control the speed and her closing splits have been excellent. 

3. Zardozi (9)   

Price: $5.00

The daughter of Kingman warmed up for this race with a stellar performance in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes where she tracked New Zealand superstar Orchestral all the way to finish 1.3 lengths third.  

She should be at peak fitness now and the rise to 2400m is in her favour given she bolted in by 2.3 lengths to win the Group 1 VRC Oaks over 2500m last preparation.   

The Godolphin filly loves the sting out of the track so connections will be hoping that the forecast showers on race day arrive.  

She will need a touch of luck from an outside gate but if she gets cover and an economical run, then she will take some holding out.   

4. Tutta La Vita (7) 

Price: $10.00

The Chris Waller-trained filly put in a bold showing in the Vinery Stud Stakes. 

A change of tactics saw her settle handy and she gave a massive kick in the straight, only to be run down late by Orchestral and finish a half-length second. 

Nash Rawiller gave her an elite ride and he will need to do that again for her to turn the tables on Orchestral.  

She has yet to win beyond 1400m, so the 2400m must be a big concern but it would be a brave person to write off a Waller horse. 

5. Autumn Angel (8)   

Price: $7.00

Peter Moody is bullish about his filly causing an upset and beating her more fancied rivals in this year’s Australian Oaks. 

It’s hard to argue with the great man with the daughter of The Autumn Sun entering the feature in terrific order. 

Two starts back she fought bravely to win the Group 2 Kewney Stakes, holding off Basilinna. 

Her performance in the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes where she fought tooth and nail with Good Banter despite giving away 8kg to finish a half-length second was excellent and will have topped her off nicely. 

While she has never raced over 2400m, she should eat it up and if she can handle the quick back-up then she will be fighting out the finish. 

6. Basilinna (6)  

Price: $23.00

Given she got within a half-length of Autumn Angel in the Kewney Stakes two starts back, she seems well over the odds. 

The Emma-Lee and David Browne-trained filly only got warm late in the Alister Clark Stakes when finishing 2.7 lengths sixth.  

She’ll appreciate getting onto a bigger track and the rise in distance will suit given she finished third to Zardozi in the VRC Oaks.  

However, the margin in the VRC Oaks was 6.6 lengths so she will need to find something to turn the tables on Zardozi but slipping into the top three is not beyond her. 

7. Dances With Hooves (4)     

Price: $101.00

Trainer Cameron Crockett is throwing his Real Steel filly into the deep end. 

While she has won three of her past four starts, her last win came in a Benchmark 64 Handicap, and it was by just a head. 

She has plenty of wins in store, just in much easier company. 

8. Piplup (10)   

Price: $126.00

Brad Widdup’s filly won her maiden just two starts ago at Hawkesbury and was well beaten last start in the Vinery Stud Stakes so it’s hard to see her aiming up against this field.  

9. True Fairy (1)   

Price: $151.00

She was a similar price in the Vinery Stud Stakes and didn’t fire a shot. 

A similar scenario looks likely for the Grafton filly. 

10. Bush Girl (5)   

Price: $151.00

The Kerry Parker-trained filly is still a maiden after eight starts and it’s hard to see that changing given she led and weakened in the Adrian Knox Stakes last start to finish 4.4 lengths seventh. 

The Judgement

While the price is no spoil, it is hard to go past superstar New Zealand filly Orchestral. 

She has taken all before her in her short career with six wins from nice races with two of those at Group 1 level.

That includes the Vinery Stud Stakes last start where she defeated several of her main threats. 

I believe she will be even better with the rise to 2400m given she was a month between runs going into last start so will strip fitter. She also won the New Zealand Derby in dominant fashion over this distance. 

James McDonald is again in the saddle and will give her a beautiful run from barrier 3. 


1st – Orchestral

2nd – Zardozi

3rd – Autumn Angel

4th – Quintessa