A field of 16 fillies contest the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville.
It looks a strong race with the likes of Princess Jenni and Amangiri looking the two key chances in the first of the day’s two Group 1s in South Australia.
Who will take out the Morphettville feature?
1. ARISTIA ($7.01): Aristia hadn’t put a foot wrong this preparation when going into the Australian Oaks last start and was backed from $9.00 into $5.50 to beat Verry Elleegant. She had a tough run in transit, sitting outside the leader before being pushed wide around the home turn but she did drop out badly over the final furlong at the vet could find no issues post race. Damian Lane has ridden this horse at her last eight starts but with Lane riding in Japan, Dwayne Dunn will take the ride She drops back from 2400m to 2000m and will find this easier but I couldn’t back her off her last start effort.
3. PRINCESS JENNI ($3.11): The David Brideoake-trained Princess Jenni is finally starting to put it all together after showing plenty of ability in jumpouts and trials. She stormed over the top to defeat Angelic Ruler two starts ago at The Valley and backed that up with an impressive victory last start at Caulfield, defeating Sure Knee and Music Bay. I really liked her turn of foot once she got balanced, she ran the 49th-fastest last 800m of the meeting, 12th-fastest last 600m of the meeting and then the sixth-fastest last 400m of the meeting and seventh-fastest last 200m of the meeting. My only small knock is, where does she settle in the run. She has gotten back near last in all three of her runs this preparation and from barrier three, could we see a hard luck story? She will need the breaks to go her way but does look hard to beat.
7. AMANGIRI ($5.01): The Hawkes-trained Amangiri looks a serious contender. She bolted in on the Kensington track four starts ago and followed that up with a 5.3 length victory at Hawkesbury. She went to Randwick in the Group 3 Adrian Knox (2000m) and ran out 1950m of the race before tiring badly over the final 50m and just going down behind Aliferous. What a moral beaten she was last start, she ran 9.7 lengths above benchmark despite not getting clear at any stage of the race. She ran the 12-fastest 600m-400m of the race, eighth-fastest 400m-200m split of the race and the second-fastest last 200m with no clear air. She looks like she can control things from barrier two, Todd Pannell can either lead or sit on pair back if horses like Aristia or Maracaibo roll forward.
8. SURE KNEE ($10.10): The Chris Waller-trained Sure Knee all but beat Princess Jenni last start at Caulfield. She was in front everywhere but the post, running the second-fastest last 200m, 400m, 600m and 800m of the race. John Allen sticks with her but she will get a long way back from the barrier. I think she may have missed her chance to beat Princess Jenni home and that horse looks to have slightly more upside going forward out to 2000m.
9. ZALATTE ($9.01): Zalatte looked gone for the preparation after two very poor runs in Sydney but looked a different horse at Flemington on top of the ground. It was the best ninth-placed finish you’re ever likely to see and It’s not an exaggeration to say she should’ve bolted in. She was climbing over heels in the straight and never once saw daylight. It’s a hard task to line her up against the likes of Amangiri and Princess Jenni and barrier four could prove troublesome, as she is likely to be back on the inside of runners.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Cool Passion brings the strongest form lines to Saturday’s Group 1.
The evergreen seven-year-old mare was most recently beaten 2.5 lengths by Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) where they ran record time.
All her form lines are extremely strong, she’s now at peak fitness and has been freshened which looks ideal.
Sure Knee, looms as the obvious danger having just missed behind Princess Jenni last start, but a 1kg weight turn around and wide gate won’t make it any easier for her, so Amangiri might be the one for the exacta.
1. Princess Jenni
3. Sure Knee