Staying fillies to take centre stage on Oaks Day

Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
14 March 2024
Trentham Racecourse has unveiled many superstar fillies in the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m), and the iconic venue will stage another running of the time-honoured feature this Saturday, 16th March.

The penultimate stop of The Grand Tour Racing Festival, Al Basti Equiworld Dubai NZ Oaks Day promises an exhilarating lineup of stakes racing, featuring four black-type events, and plenty of action and entertainment to enjoy trackside.

The staying fillies will headline a stacked nine-race programme on Saturday, with each of the 16 hopefuls aiming to etch their names into one of New Zealand’s most iconic Classics.

A theme in this year’s edition is trainers having multiple chances, with Tony Pike, Kevin Myers and Stephen Autridge all preparing a pair of contenders for the 2400m test, while a trio of runners will represent Andrew Forsman. Autridge, a highly-decorated trainer, is aiming for his first Oaks victory with Still Bangon and Livid Sky, while Forsman engages Gr.3 Sunline Vase (2100m) winner Positivity, who narrowly defeated current Oaks-favourite in Te Akau’s Qali Al Farrasha ($4).

Chad Ormsby’s aptly named Pulchritudinous enters off the back of a dazzling Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2000m) victory last Friday, and Australian jockey Kyle Wilson Taylor crosses the Tasman to pilot a potential Wexford sleeper in Cupid’s Arrow.

Racing fans will enjoy a fabulous undercard prior to the Group One feature, kicking-off with a talented line-up in the Listed Lincoln Farms Lightning Handicap (1200m). Stephen Marsh’s stable has been in scorching form of late, and the Telegraph-winning combination of Sam Spratt and Mercurial sit at the top of the book with a 59kg weight impost. Fellow Northern visitors Imwonderfultonight and Petrucci carry strong seasonal form in an evenly matched 13-horse field for the meeting’s sprint feature.

Named in honour of a sensational racing mare, the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) showcases many of Central Districts’ classy female contingent, with several on a potential path towards the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) later this month. Lisa Latta’s Belclare was a stunning victor of the latter last season and heads a two-pronged attack by the Awapuni trainer with Diss Is Dramatic.

Robbie Patterson’s The Hottie and Contribute are always competitive, as well as fellow underrated Taranaki mare Hi Yo Sass Bomb, and a strong CD selection is topped off by Josh Shaw’s Group One performer Faraglioni, aiming for her first stakes win. The promising Bill Thurlow-trained No Rain Ever will be the sole filly of the field, carrying a luxury 53kg under Warren Kennedy.

A phenomenal penultimate stakes event will run at 4.03pm, in the form of the Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m). Royally-bred filly Irish Legacy is a warm-favourite ($3.30), but will have the likes of up-and-comers Moet Down and Witz End, proven stakes performer Grail Seeker, and flashy colt Geriatrix to contend with in her bid for black-type success.

Don’t be surprised to see a solid performance from last year’s Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) winner Tokyo Tycoon as he steps back in distance, while Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) winner Lantern Way returns in a fresh-state for Latta.

A day out at Trentham Racecourse never disappoints!  General admission is free, and gives racegoers access to The Grand Tour Bar with DJ Dan Aux on the decks throughout the day. Patrons have an opportunity to become a ‘member for a day’, for just $30pp, giving access to the Member’s Lounge on the Wellington Floor.

With just a couple of our biggest racedays left on the calendar, get to Trentham Racecourse this Saturday to eat, drink and get racy with The Grand Tour!
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

What: Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks Day

When: Saturday 16 March 2024

Where: Trentham Racecourse, Wellington

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