Retiring G.O.A.T. Damien Oliver will chase a fairy-tale win in the Group 1 $1 million Kennedy Oaks (2500m) on Thursday looking for one more triumph aboard the Kiwi-bred filly Basilinna.
Oliver will bid farewell to his glittering career in the saddle at the end of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and has been racing in terrific fashion over the past few weeks.
He will be hoping to roll that into the Oaks on Day 3 of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at headquarters when jumping aboard the Emma-Lee & David Browne-trained daughter of Saphanos, Basilinna.
Oliver has dominated the recent Kennedy Oaks results riding five of the past eight winners with success aboard: Jameka (2015), Miami Bound (2019), Personal (2020) and Willowy (2021).
His ride in the 2023 VRC Oaks field is one of the single-figure fancies at a current quote of $9.50 through Ladbrokes.
Basilinna has won just one of her four career starts to date but was good last time out at a price when third to Autumn Angel at Caulfield on October 21 at 30/1 only two lengths beaten in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m).
She is drawn for a run with barrier two on Thursday and is the sentimental favourite for Ollie fans.
Current favourite in Kennedy Oaks betting is the James Cummings-trained Zardozi at $3.
Favourites have a strong recent record in the event with six saluting from 2008 – 2022 including Cummings’ champ Willowy ($3.70 in 2021) and She’s Extreme ($2.30 in 2022) last spring.
James McDonald, who also rides last year’s hero Gold Trip for his Melbourne Cup title defence on Tuesday, partners the in-form daughter of Kingman from a nice barrier six draw.
The filly won the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) two back before another Flemington run on Derby Day when finishing a short half-head second in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m).
Her last start conqueror, Amazonian Lass, was good posting her upset win in the Wakeful and is at $9 to do the double on the quick back-up for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott.
Tim Clark retains the ride on the Wakeful winner who is drawn wide out in gate 13.
The Waterhouse/Bott stable also saddle-up the main danger with Tropical Squall occupying the second line of Kennedy Oaks betting at $3.90.
She is drawn favourably with gate three for jockey Adam Hyeronimus and looks for another Group 1 after her Flight Stakes win over the Randwick mile earlier this prep.
Her latest start had the bonny Prized Icon filly finishing a half-length second in the Ethereal Stakes.
She carted 59kg from barrier 12 to go down the beaten odds-on fancy there and will be looking to kiss and make-up with the punters in the Oaks back to 56kg at set weights.
The Kennedy Oaks runs as Race 8 on the Flemington card for Thursday with a 5:10pm (AEDT) scheduled jump time.
2023 Kennedy Oaks Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||1×1312||TROPICAL SQUALL||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||3||56kg||104|
|2||111×00712||ZARDOZI||James Cummings||James McDonald||6||56kg||86|
|3||19×50531||AMAZONIAN LASS||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||13||56kg||86|
|4||4151||SERVED COLD||Danny O’Brien||Blake Shinn||11||56kg||70|
|5||11133||HARLOW MIST (NZ)||John Sargent||Michael Dee||9||56kg||76|
|6||11×9605||COCO SUN||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Damian Lane||7||56kg||68|
|7||2183||BASILINNA (NZ)||Emma-Lee & David Browne||Damien Oliver||2||56kg||70|
|8||7214||AETHELFLAED||Matthew Smith||Mark Zahra||12||56kg||66|
|9||431292||WINGS OF SONG||Patrick Payne||Billy Egan||14||56kg||63|
|10||6451||ETHEL MAUDE||Pat Carey & Harris Walker||Rhys McLeod||10||56kg||64|
|11||421||PEAKY RIDGE||Peter Chow||Declan Bates||8||56kg||63|
|12||9190||VIESTE||Benjamin Smith||Dean Yendall||5||56kg||64|
|13||7×8525||ANOTHER YOU||Dan O’Sullivan||Ms Jamie Kah||1||56kg||64|
|14||430||EVERLASTING KISS||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Ben Melham||4||56kg||63|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.