When Zydeco stormed down the outside to claim a two-length victory in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) on Saturday she announced herself as the one to beat in Thursday’s Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington.


Zydeco has history on her side heading into the Oaks. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Now, not only does the progressive youngster have form on her side, she has history.

The Wakeful Stakes is a proven formline heading into the Oaks. Since 2000, four of the Wakeful Stakes winners have gone on to win the Oaks with the most recent being Brazillian Pulse in 2010.

Others to have completed the Wakeful-Oaks double since 2000 include Faint Perfume (2009), Serenade Rose (2005) and Hollow Bullet (2004).

Last year’s Wakeful winner Atlantic Jewel did not contest the Oaks but remains unbeaten from seven career starts.

Many Wakeful winners who haven’t been successful in the Oaks have gone incredibly close and it took superstar Miss Finland to relegate 2006 Wakeful victor Tuesday Joy to second place.

Other recent Wakeful successes not quite able to complete the double are Timbourina (2003) and Lolita Star (2000) who both went on to finish third.

Zydeco is currently a $2 favourite for the three-year-old fillies’ feature and has progressed steadily towards her spring target.

After debuting with a sixth-place finish at Mornington in August, the daughter of Zabeel won the second start of her career at Bendigo before finishing fifth on city debut in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m).

She then went on to produce an eye-catching third in the Thousand Guineas (1600m) before showing a clear appreciation for the extra distance in the Wakeful Stakes.

Kerrin McEvoy was riding the Anthony Freedman-trained youngster for the first time in her Wakeful win and he left feeling positive about her Oaks’ chances.

“I was able to just get back and relax and got to the outside and she really picked up,” McEvoy said after the race.

“It’s good signs going into next week over 2500m in the Oaks.

“Hopefully we can do the same on Thursday.”

Clarry Connors-trained filly Dear Demi ($4) appears the most likely danger to Zydeco after a luckless run saw her finish fourth in the Wakeful.

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