HE’S regarded as one of Victoria’s leading young reinsmen.
And Victorian Zac Phillips showed Menangle racegoers why he deserved that rating with a clever drive to win the first heat of the NSW Oaks with outsider Tangoingwithsierra ($18) at Menangle tonight.
Phillips had the daughter of Sportswriter perfectly poised behind the leader Two Times Bettor with a lap to go before getting himself into the action and surging to the front in the straight the final time for an impressive one and three-quarter metre win over Enchanted Stride with Lady Rocknrolla a further one and half metres back in third place.
The winner ran her final mile in 1:57.7 with splits of 29s-29.4-28.5 and 27.8 as she showed a touch of class to fight off the fast-finishing placegetters with plenty of heart.
Just half an hour later leading Victorian trainer Emma Stewart struck again when outstanding filly Kualoa made a one-act affair of heat two of the Oaks.
Crossed by Tom Butt’s classy filly Cheesy Fingers at the start of the 2400m mobile, Chris Alford refused to panic with Kualoa and settled just behind the speed.
Then, as the field went up the back straight the final time, Alford decided he couldn’t wait any longer and released the brakes on Kualoa and began serving it up to Cheesy Fingers.
Kualoa hit the front about 850m from home and proceeded to put his rivals to the sword, surging to the line an 11.5m winner over the fast-finishing Our Road To Mecca (Mat Rue for Ahmed Taiba), who nabbed Cheesy Fingers (Anthony Butt) right on the line to take second spot.
With a mile rate of 1:56.7, barring a terrible draw, Kualoa looks certain to start favourite for next week’s NSW Oaks final.
The final Oaks heat saw a patient drive by star reinswoman Nat Rasmussen, settling near last with another of the All Stars’ team’s up and comers in Our Princess Tiffany, before launching in the straight the final time with a devastating sprint.
Despite giving the leaders a healthy start turning for home she rounded them up in a twinkling and sprinted to a one-metre win over Arabella Star (Zac Phillips) with early leader Miss Streisand (Chris Geary for Roy Roots jr) third in a 1:56.9 mile rate.
Fourth placegetter Swimsuit Edition (Luke McCarthy) earned the final spot in the Oaks field with the fastest fourth of the three heats.
The Oaks finalists are:
Our Princess Tiffany, Arabella Star, Miss Streisand, Swimsuit Edition, Tangoingwithsierra, Enchanted Stride, Lady Rocknrolla, Kualoa, Our Road To Mecca, Cheesy Fingers. (1em) Miss Halfpenny.
FOR MORE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.