Trainer John Sargent hopes Kembla Grange can help build the platform for another VRC Oaks assault with well-bred filly Emeralds.
Sargent has a great track record with staying fillies in Australia and is hoping Emeralds can bolster a strong hand in the race in 2019.
Kirramosa won the Oaks for Sargent in 2013 while Thunder Lady (second, 2014) and Luvaluva (fourth, 2017) went close to winning the staying feature. All three fillies won the Group 2-Wakeful Stakes in the lead-up to the Oaks.
Sargent has a team of fillies in mind for the Oaks this year, with Emeralds, Foxborough, Aspect Ratio and Shining Eagle all potential runners for his stable.
Emeralds will have her second run this preparation in the Bailey Interiors Maiden Plate (1400m) at the Illawarra Turf Club on Saturday where she will be ridden by Andrew Gibbons.“She is a lovely filly,” Sargent said. “She got back first-up but has gone on with it and it will just be where she lands. Hopefully, she can get home.
“We want to hopefully get her one at the provincials first and then move to the city.
“She is bred to get over a Classic filly’s distance so hopefully we can start working towards something in the spring if it goes alright on Saturday.”
Sargent has had plenty of success in the past developing his fillies on country and provincial tracks en route to the Oaks.
Kirramosa saluted at Newcastle over 1200m before winning the Oaks while Luvaluva and Thunder Lady both started their preparations at Goulburn.
He kicked off Emeralds’ preparation at Newcastle over 1200m and the Sebring chestnut ran on well to finish second.
“It was too short but (Gibbons) didn’t ride it out of her comfort zone,” Sargent said.
“He could have probably been closer to have a better chance but you have to ride the horse to how it is happy and that’s the main thing.”
Emeralds ran in the Group 2-Sweet Embrace at her maiden start as a two-year-old before Sargent put her away with an eye for the three-year-old Classics.
His other trio of Oaks hopefuls are yet to return from their respective spells and Sargent expects to have them all up and running in the coming weeks.
Another filly which has Sargent excited is Havin’ Fun. The trainer has goals of seeing the filly end up in a Group 1-Flight Stakes and hopes she can put her best foot forward in the Australian Turf Club 2YO Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I couldn’t have her any better,” Sargent said. “Blake Shinn knows her and it will be his last ride on her before he goes (to Hong Kong).
“She is probably more a miler and that’s why she is in the city. She has gone on with it since winning at Canterbury her last start.”