The $1million Group I VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Thursday has attracted a small but select field with 11 runners highlighted by last season’s Group I ATC Champagne Stakes winner She’s Extreme.
Class can carry a filly a long way in an Oaks and She’s Extreme certainly has that over her rivals in spades, but let’s take a look at the pedigrees.
1/ She’s Extreme (3f Extreme Choice x Keysbrook, by So Secret) – Second in G1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and last start third in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) is outstanding form for this.
She’s from the second crop of Extreme Choice, who has had only one winner at 2000m and none beyond, but her dam Keysbrook won up to 2100m and was placed in WA Oaks and Derby, so can take some encouragement from that.
2/ Zennzella (3f Snitzel x Zennista, by Zenno Rob Roy (Jpn) – Announced herself as a contender with a strong win in G2 VRC Wakeful Stakes (2000m) after maiden win at Pakenham over 1600m.
Her champion sire Snitzel has never had an Oaks or Derby winner, but Zennzella might be the game changer. Her dam Zennista is a multiple G3 winner up to 2400m and was second in the G1 New Zealand Oaks so that’s going to help her cause and there are more positives…. third dam by Sir Tristram (IRE) and her dam sire Zenno Rob Roy won a Japan Cup
3/ Renaissance Woman (NZ) (3f Reliable Man (IRE) x Mrs Kennedy, by Fastnet Rock) – Won G3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) and last start sixth in G1 Spring Champion.
By an outstanding sire of staying fillies who has already sired two G1 Oaks winners and dam sire Fastnet Rock has also had his share of Oaks winners. Female family is all about speed though as dam is a three-quarter sister-in-blood to brilliant fillies Missrock and Passive Aggressive and half-sister to G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Mrs Onassis.
4/ Pavitra (3f American Pharoah (USA) x Gypsy Robin (USA), by Daaher– Two wins from seven starts and third in the G3 Ethereal and then brave second in the G2 Wakeful has her in the mix.
By Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who won up to 2400m and is a half-sister to G1 winning sprinter Wild Ruler from Gypsy Robin, a quality US imported multiple G2 winner and G1 placed up to 1400m. American Pharoah has had six G1 winners all over the world and won’t be shocked if this number 7.
5/ Foxy Cleopatra (3f American Pharoah (USA) x Casuarina, by Fastnet Rock) – Only three starts for a first, second and third, last start runner-up in G3 Ethereal Stakes.
By same sire as previous and is from an unraced sister to G1 winning sprinter and sire Foxwedge from a US speed female family. Pedigree doesn’t scream Oaks, but can’t discount.
6/ Let’sbefrankbaby (3f Frankel x Baby Pink, by Invincible Spirit) – One win from five starts and was fourth in G3 Ethereal and fifth in G2 Wakeful.
By champion sire Frankel from 2400m stakes-winner Baby Pink from a family packed with top class European stakes-winners including My Oberon, who won the G2 MVRC Crystal Mile. She’s bred to win an Epsom Oaks, never mind the VRC Oaks!
7/ As Time Goes By (3f Deep Impact x A Time for Julia, by Redoute’s Choice) – Maiden after four starts, but last start third in G2 Wakeful a good effort and has her in contention.
By one of the great sires in the world in Deep Impact and is from blue-blood G3 winning Redoute’s Choice mare A Time for Julia, a half-sister to the dam of G1 VRC Oaks winner Personal. Has an Oaks pedigree no question!
8/ Queen Air (3f Toronado (IRE) x Rain Cloud, by Domesday) – Unplaced maiden after three starts, but good fourth in G2 Wakeful Stakes.
By a son of High Chaparral, although Toronado (IRE) has largely made his name with sprinter milers and dam is from a female speed family although dam sire Domesday has left a number of G1 winning stayers, so if you like her, take some heart from that.
9/ Sirius Princess (3f Hooked x Cosmic Choice, by Redoute’s Choice) – Maiden after four starts and was seventh in Listed Geelong Classic (2200m).
From the first crop of a sire that has left one winner and female family is about speed, no thanks.
10/ Makrana (3f Pierro x Gunawati, by Galileo) – One placing from four starts and last start ninth in G2 Wakeful.
By a proven classic sire in Pierro from a daughter of champion sire Galileo, so that’s all positive, but female family as a whole is about speed, so she might be a fruit out of season.
11/ Albanian Icon (3f Holler x Brown Bombshell, by Lonhro ) – Unplaced three starts and last start eighth in Geelong Classic.
Sire Holler was a G1 winning sprinter that has never had a stakes-winner and dam was a minor winner at 1600m from a stakes-winning stayer in Professional Lady. There are plenty of staying stakes-winners in this female family, but she’s unlikely to join them in this race.
1/ She’s Extreme