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Queensland Oaks preview

It's not just Epsom hosting the quality racing this weekend, the blog will also have previews of the French Derby (Prix du Jockey Club), the Spanish Derby, features from Haydock and Musselburgh, plus from (sometimes) sunny Queensland, it's also Oaks Day. Making his debut on the blog is racing analyst Adrian Gray. Follow him on Twitter at @_AdrianGray
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The 2012 Queensland Oaks has shaped up to be one of the betting highlights of the Queensland Winter Carnival, with a forecast heavy track providing great value for numerous runners.

The deserved favourites are both international raiders from NZ, with Miss Artistic and Quintessential placing 1st and 3rd in the NZ Oaks.  While both runners have proven themselves over the distance, tomorrow’s event was an afterthought after already having to peak once this preparation. Both have been working home well in their lead up races; however both will need to be 100% for the second time this year to achieve the feat last accomplished by Scarlett Lady. Big ask, but both are worthy contenders.


Next favourite is the very smart Angel Of Mercy. An extremely capable miler, beaten a head by four time Group One winner Mosheen over 1400 six starts back, the ability to stay mile and a half is a major query here.  While she has a class edge on all of these horses, the expected genuine tempo will stretch her.
The next two lines of betting, Scorpio Queen and Dowager Queen, are both unbeaten on heavy tracks. Dowager Queen is by far the most experienced of the runners, having had 23 starts, and finished well back in the NZ Derby, as did next in line Poste Restante.


Invest, unlikely to run if the track stays heavy, took out the South Australian Oaks over 2000 metres two starts back and just held off the fast finishing Miss Artistic and Scorpio Queen last start, suggesting it has peaked already and the 2400 is beyond it.


Red Typhoon and Pretty Pins are the next two lines of betting and the last of the legitimate contenders. Red Typhoon was victorious over her own age and sex over 2500m last start, and Pretty Pins will benefit hugely by the wet track, genuine tempo, blinkers on first time and back to her normal midrace position of well back. Watch for her swooping late. 


Rock Hit missed a start in the traditional lead up to the Oaks, the Roses, however bolted in by 7 lengths against much inferior opposition at Toowoomba last start. Vittoria is an honest stayer who finished fourth in the VRC Derby. 


Love Excels could be the blowout runner. After only two very impressive starts, it could be on the up and is definitely one to include in the trifectas. 


Angelus, Rocksan, Hula Lua, Crystalised, Anagold, Ablackahawka, Grab The Loot, Eliza Blues and Urban Rocker have all finished long way behind each of the previously mentioned runners in their lead up runs and would need to sprout wings to come close here.

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