It is one of the most open editions of the $1 million Group 1 The Star Australian Oaks (2400m) this weekend in Sydney with the Mark Newham-trained Harmony Rose narrow favourite to salute in the mile and a half classic.
The first of four elite level features held at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’, the Australian Oaks 2021 field features a quality line-up of ten three-year-old fillies.
Jumping from a midfield gate five draw with Joshua Parr retaining the ride is Glass Harmonium filly Harmony Rose who is out to break through with her first feature race win.
A progressive type, she has been knocking on the door having backed-up from a first-up win on the Kensington track in February to run an excellent third to Lion’s Roar in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
That was a notable rise in grade for her and she was good again on April 3 at Rosehill when only a neck beaten crossing second to Hungry Heart in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m).
The Vinery looks the form race to follow into this year’s Oaks and Harmony Rose is at a current quote of $3.30 through Ladbrokes.com.au to turn the tables on her last start conqueror.
Chris Waller’s Vinery Stud Stakes winning filly Hungry Heart meanwhile is at $4.80 in the latest Australian Oaks odds online chasing a hat-trick of wins.
After a confidence-boosting victory in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) beating home the boys in mid-March, the beautifully-bred daughter of Frankel got that all-important Group 1 win on the board in the Vinery.
The margin was narrow, but she is in with a chance to keep the wins coming and complete the double for the first time since her star stablemate Verry Elleegant (2019) stepping-up to the 2400m of the Oaks.
It is a very close top-half of the market with two other fillies also under $10 for the win with early market mover Amarelinha ($4.60) from New Zealand and David Payne’s dual Group 1 winner Montefilia ($5).
The Jamie Richards-trained Savabeel filly Amarelinha comes across the Tasman having won five of her seven starts back home including her past three on the trot.
Working her way through the grades and distances in New Zealand, she saluted as the odds-on favourite over this distance on March 20 in the Group 1 NZ Oaks (2400m) and is now out to complete the Trans-Tasman Oaks double for the first time since Bonneval (2017).
New Zealand-trained fillies have an excellent recent record in the ATC Oaks with Bonneval the third to win in the four years from 2014-17 along with Rising Romance (2014) and Sofia Rosa (2016).
As for Montefilia, Payne’s record-breaking daughter of Kermadec chases her first win since completing the Flight Stakes – Spring Champion Stakes double last season.
She was strong when third to Personal in last November’s Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington and looked really solid in her two recent runs against the boys finishing third in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and then fourth to upset winner Explosive Jack in last weekend’s Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m).
The Australian Oaks is scheduled to run as Randwick Race 5 at 1:50pm (AEST) on Saturday.