Oaks favourites to clash in Wakeful


Leading Crown Oaks fancies Dizlago and Shamrocker are set to take the traditional final lead-up to the three-year-old fillies' classic in the $302,000 Wakeful Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

In current betting for next Thursday's Oaks on TAB Fixed Odds, the Lee Freedman-trained Dizlago ($5) presently shades Danny O'Brien's Shamrocker ($5.50) for favourtism.

The pair matched strides for the second time in Saturday's Wakeful Stakes over 2000m. At their previous meeting in the Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington over 1600m on October 3, Shamrocker finished third behind Sistine Angel, with Dizlago in seventh position after meeting with some interference in running.

Shamrocker has not raced since her Edward Manifold Stakes placing, whereas Dizlago progressed to a decisive three-and-a-quarter-length win at the Sportingbet Stakes over 2000m on a Heavy track at Caulfield on October 16.

Having been in the saddle for all three of Shamrocker's starts this Spring, jockey James Winks continues his association with the filly on Saturday. With Nick Hall suspended, Freedman has booked Damien Oliver to ride Dizlago for the first time.

The Wakeful Stakes has been far and away the most reliable form pointer towards the VRC Oaks. In the past 25 years, 18 of the Oaks winners in that time came through the Wakeful Stakes, with 11 of those fillies winning the Group Two lead-up event.

This year's renewal has attracted a capacity field of 18 and four emergencies and the result of Saturday's race is certain to reshape the betting market for the Oaks.

The barrier draw has been kind to Shamrocker (3), but less favourable to Dizlago (15).

They will face considerable opposition amongst the big field on Saturday.

Mike Moroney's promising filly Brazilian Pulse has a mid-range draw in 11. She is also prominent in Oaks betting and would most likely rocket to favouritism if Craig Williams can guide her to victory on Saturday.

Several of the other leading Wakeful Stakes contenders suffered horror barrier draws, most notably Divorces (18), Sasa (22) and Zutara (19).

The only fillies currently high in Oaks betting that are absent from the Wakeful Stakes line-up are Thousand Guineas winner Yosei and the David Hayes-trained Precious Lorraine.

Caulfield trainer Stuart Webb has elected to keep Yosei at 1600m and compete against older mares in the Myer Classic at Flemington this Saturday en route to the Oaks.

Yosei will face stiff competition from a top class field in the Group One event which includes Typhoon Tracy, Hot Danish and Palacio de Cristal. Glen Boss is expected to be able to ride Yosei at her light weight of 49kg or possibly half a kilo over the mark.

Having performed very well in last week's AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley, Precious Lorraine will not race at Flemington on Saturday and instead go straight to next Thursday's Oaks without another appearance.

Story by Chris West, to view fully Sportal story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno’s website click here

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