FEATURE RACE PREVIEW: NZ OAKS

Racing tips for Saturday’s Group 1 New Zealand Oaks available now. Preview, speed map, race analysis, racing tips & betting strategy for the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks at Trentham from NZ Expert Form Analyst Jason Tan.

Racing tips and full in-depth preview and analysis of each race and betting strategy for the New Zealand Oaks are online now!

Click here to head to the New Zealand Oaks market on the Betfair Exchange.

NEW ZEALAND OAKS

Track: Trentham | Distance: 2400m | Condition: 3YOF SW | Rail Position: True | Condition: Dead 4 

Track Conditions: The weather leading into Saturday is likely to contain some rain. The track is also being watered, which means the turf will likely be a DEAD 5 and possibly a DEAD 4 at the start of the race meeting. Bottom line is, it’s unlikely to be GOOD.

The New Zealand Oaks is a Group 1 race for three-year-old fillies run over 2400m.

Trentham is a spacious left-handed turf track that unfortunately has been blighted by unpredictable bias that has been seemingly caused by poor weather and arguably how the track has been managed.

New Zealand Oaks patterns from the last 10-years:

  • A key lead-up race is the Lowland Stakes at Hastings. Typically run just over 2-weeks before, seven of the last 10 Oaks winners have had their lead-up run in the Lowland Stakes, with four of them winning the double (Savaria ’15, Bonneval ’17, Savvy Coup ’18, Jennifer Eccles ‘20).
  • Three of the last 10 winners have won the Sunline Vase leading into the NZ Oaks.
  • Five favourites have won the New Zealand Oaks.
  • Fanatic was a promoted winner of the Oaks in 2016 at $63.50 when favourite Sofia Rosa was relegated for interference caused over the last 50m.
  • Oaks winners’ average position at the 600m has been 6th and about 2.25L off the leader.
  • One winner in the last 10 years has raced on or outside of the leader, More Than Sacred, and she won by 2L.

SPEED MAP RACING TIPS

There are three horses that look most likely to generate the pace in the New Zealand Oaks, MUSTANG VALLEY, SELF OBSESSION and possibly APACHE ANNE. Fillies like BELLE EN ROUGE, FLASH MARY, ACHIEVE and RUE CLER are others that can push forward to find prominent positions as well. SELF OBSESSION might try and control the tempo from outside of the leader and the pace set is likely to be GOOD, so as to avoid a sit and sprint home.


NEW ZEALAND OAKS | KEY RUNNERS + RACING TIPS

1. SELF OBSESSION (8) (Rated Price $2.50)

She’s the deserved favourite and has proven to be a very genuine racehorse that fights in a finish. She races like 2400m will be ideal, can make her own luck on the speed, and has had the ideal preparation for this Group 1. Her wins don’t have her rated as clear of the others as her price suggests, but the manner of them means the upgrade is fair.

2. THE PERFECT PINK (11) (RP $21)

Her preparation was diverted from the Derby to the Oaks after racing below expectations in the Avondale Guineas. She looked okay in a trial, but it was far from definitive. Her peak performances over 1500m and 1600m have her clear, and her class deserves some respect, but her two runs over 2000m and 2100m says she won’t stay the 2400m like four or five others are likely too.

3. BELLE EN ROUGE (3) (RP $36)

She’s similar to The Perfect Pink in many respects, in that her best efforts have been over shorter trips and she’s a big query over 2400m. She will get an economical run, which will help her, but others are more appealing chances.

4. BELLATRIX BLACK (13) (RP $9.00)

She has really progressed well in a short time and sprinted strongly to win the Sunline Vase last time. It wasn’t a race run very genuinely, but her ability to relax and sprint stands her in good stead here. She will settle back and come late, and with a touch more improvement can win.

5.  GLORY BOUND (7) (RP $9.00)

Her run for 4th behind Bellatrix Black last time is worth forgiving as she got to a poor spot when the sprint finally went on. She covered ground and lost balance which resulted in a poor final-200m sectional. Her prior run at Te Rapa just going down to Self Obsession was excellent. She gets a key rider change to Craig Grylls and can be a factor.

6. ACHIEVE (6) (RP $18)

She ran okay last time, but overall has been delivering performances a length or two below a few others. She’s a chance if she improves and a positive is that she should get one of the better runs in the race.

7. MUSTANG VALLEY (4) (RP $21)

She hasn’t won as a three-year-old, but went close in the Sunline Vase (2nd). She had every chance there though, setting a moderate tempo and sprinting home. It’s hard to entertain her getting those same favours here and not being run down by other better performers.

8. FLASH MARY (5) (RP $31)

Her trainer won an Oaks at big odds in the enquiry room (Fanatic ’16) and this filly actually ran a similar lead-up race to her, by holding  3rd in the Lowland Stakes at Hastings. She maps to get a soft run during the race and has upset potential to place at odds.

9. LE VILLI (10) (RP $9.00)

Le Villi was a sectional standout when running 5th in the Sunline Vase in the fastest 800m, 600m, 400m & 200m. She was beaten 2.4-lengths but given how the race was run, settled last and was given no chance of winning. Her overall form level is very good, but her “get-back” pattern of racing leaves her more vulnerable than most to racing luck. I expect that she will be working into the race a lot sooner than last time if the tempo is slow at the 1000m. She’s a leading chance and now races for Australian Bloodstock.

10. RUE CLER (9) (RP $101)

Even though she’s run well on a couple of occasions this prep, she needs to find a lot on her best performances for her to be competitive.

11. ASPEN COLORADO (2) (RP $41)

She’s lightly-raced with plenty of upside, and was seen running on well for 4th in the Lowland Stakes. She was well-covered by a couple of other competitors, but might be a place chance with further improvement.

12. APACHE ANNE (12) (RP $51)

She hasn’t had the prep that is normally required to win an Oaks, but was impressive stepping up to 2040m and breaking maiden ranks. She’s bred to be a classy stayer and moved like one last time. She would need to find a fair bit to win, but it wouldn’t be a shock if she did.

13. ANOTHER BELLA (14) (RP $151)

A maiden that was making some ground late in the Lowland but was ultimately beaten more than 6-lengths without excuses.

14. FRAULEIN (1) (RP $1,001)

Another maiden that probably shouldn’t be allowed to start in this Group 1 race based on performances.


NEW ZEALAND OAKS | SUMMARY

The 2022 Group 1 New Zealand Oaks 2400m for three-year-fillies will see SELF OBSESSION go out a deserved favourite. She has been the standout filly in New Zealand over 2000m+ and the Oaks distance should ideally. Her tactical speed means she will likely race on or near the lead, and whilst that hasn’t been a common pattern of previous Oaks winners, most of those favoured to win haven’t had that pattern, with one that did, More Than Sacred, managing to sit outside of leader, controlling the tempo, before winning easily.

There are three horses that come out of a different formline, The Sunline Vase, that I see as the most capable of upsetting SELF OBSESSION. Namely, BELLATRIX BABE, GLORY BOUND and LE VILLI. BELLATRIX BABE sprinted well from a good position to win that race and she has had a good prep for this. She doesn’t have the same mapping favours for the Oaks but has a better sprint than most. GLORY BOUND showed that at her best, she is close to the favourite. She should get an ideal run from barrier 7, and if she settles, she can be a factor.

LE VILLI doesn’t have a great racing pattern and will be giving most other start, but she has been very good this prep and was sectionally outstanding in the Vase. A strong staying test should suit her and she’s a runner that can swoop into the finish. I’m happy to back any or all those horses at the right price, but obviously SELF OBSESSION is the number one seed.


TOP 4 SELECTIONS

#1 – SELF OBSESSION
#4 – BELLATRIX BABE
#5 – GLORY BOUND
#9 – LE VILLI


NEW ZEALAND OAKS | BETTING STRATEGY

5 unit outlay

BACK (WIN) — SELF OBSESSION (2.75 units at $2.50+)

BACK (WIN) — BELLATRIX BLACK WIN (0.75 unit @ $9.00+)

BACK (WIN) — GLORY BOUND WIN (0.75 unit @ $9.00+)

BACK (WIN) — LE VILLI WIN (0.75 unit @ $9.00+)

LAY (WIN) — THE PERFECT PINK

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