QUEENSLAND OAKS PREVIEW with Chris Scholtz – June 8

07 June, 2024

CHRIS SCHOLTZ takes a special look at the Queensland Oaks.

QUEENSLAND OAKS – A Classic Finale

There was a time when the Queensland Oaks was as good, if not better, than any other fillies classic run in Australia.

The Queensland Oaks didn’t join the racing calendar until 1951 but by the 1970s it was recognised as the season ending grand final for the best staying fillies. Through a golden period of three decades from 1970 to 2000 the Queensland Oaks invariably attracted the best of the best, boasting a roll call of champion fillies who did much more than win the Brisbane classic.

The Queensland Oaks was a coveted notch on the belt for the likes of Analie, Denise’s Joy, Surround, November Rain, Round The World, Bravery, Triscay, Slight Chance, Joie Denise and Arctic Scent. Other notable fillies to win the Oaks at Eagle Farm in the latter years of last century (when it was run over the true classic distance of 2400m) include Mode, Zasu, Show Ego, Lowan Star, Look Aloft, Travel Light, A Little Kiss, Royal Magic and Zacheline.

Sadly the Queensland Oaks has lost its aura over the last 25 years as a high class finale for the fillies – with two notable exceptions.

In 2001 Ethereal gave a strong hint of what was to come when she won the Oaks on her first trip across the Tasman. By year’s end the Kiwi star had completed the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double and the following autumn ended her career with a memorable victory in the G1 BMW at Rosehill!

And could anybody have envisaged what Winx was to achieve when she captured the Sunshine Coast Guineas/Queensland Oaks double in 2015. They were the wins the kick started her sequence of 33 successive race victories that made her the greatest racehorse of her time!

The 2015 Oaks was unique for other reasons as it was run at Doomben during the rebuild of Eagle Farm, a transfer that required the race distance to be shortened to 2200m.

In 2016 the Oaks was back at Eagle Farm but that was the last year it was run over 2400m. More transfers to Doomben followed in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and when the Oaks finally returned to Eagle Farm post COVID in 2021 the decision was taken to keep the distance at 2200m.

Others fillies of note to win the Queensland Oaks since 2000 include Giovana, Zagalia, Vouvray, Eskimo Queen, Riva San, Purple, Quintessential, Egg Tart and Duais.

A filly of that ilk is likely to emerge from this year’s Oaks as this year’s field boats a batch of core contenders that bring form from the recognised lead-up races (Doomben Roses/Gold Coast Bracelet/Princess Stakes) on par with its history.

The Roses, run over 2000m, is the key form race. It has been the source of 11 of the last 17 Queensland Oaks winners and the trend should continue this year as 10 fillies progress from that race including the first seven across the line – Scarlet Oak, Mare Of Mt Buller, Miss Joelene, Our Gold Hope, Molly Bloom, Kind Words and Good Banter. Mollynickers (ninth), Oceans Of Energy (11th) and Amazonian Lass (13th) are other runners from the Roses contesting the Oaks.

The Roses result substantiated what we had seen In the Bracelet (1800m), transferred this year from the Gold Coast to the Caloundra track on the Sunshine Coast. Amazonian Lass won the Bracelet beating Molly Bloom and Mare Of Mt Buller with Kind Words fourth, Oceans Of Energy fifth, Miss Joelene sixth and Firestorm 12th.

The progression in distance from 1800m to 2000m was too much for Amazonian Lass in the Roses but the strong placings by Mare Of St Buller and Miss Joelene and a solid fifth by Molly Bloom after racing wide were positive trials for the Oaks.

Prior to that result Amazonian Lass had finished second in the Princess Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm with Firestorm third, Miss Joelene sixth and Mare Of St Buller seventh, performances that laid the platform for their step up in distance.

Chris Waller has trained three of the last eight Queensland Oaks winners and could sweep the placings this year with a strong team of seven final acceptors including two of the emergencies.

Rising star Scarlet Oak and Mare Of Mt Buller lead his team but as always it would be wise to respect the chances of his outliers Ahuriri, Concello and Firestorm as each have worthy form that rates well for the Oaks.

Firestorm rebounded from her failure in the Bracelet at the Sunshine Coast with a game third against seasoned older mares in the G3 Drinkwise Mile (1600m) at Doomben on May 25, form that should not be discounted as she is the only Oaks runner returning to her own age from a Group placing in open company.

Ahuriri lands in the Oaks off form against the colts, having won the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington prior to her closing fifth in the G1 SA Derby (2500m) at Morphettville. It’s the best staying form beyond 2200m in the Oaks and is relevant as the SA Derby runner up Warmonger came out and blitzed his rivals with a 10 lengths win in last Saturday’s G1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.

Which brings us back to ruling favourite Scarlet Oak, a filly who only began racing in March with a maiden win in New Zealand. She was immediately switched to the Waller stable in Sydney and debuted for him with a second in a G3 fillies race over 1400m at Randwick that stamped her as a genuine Brisbane carnival contender.

A soft benchmark win over 1600m at Newcastle followed before she held off a charging Mare Of St Buller for a dogged win in the Roses over 2000m at Doomben on May 25. No doubt she is a high class filly but it’s a sobering stat that the seven winners of the Oaks since it was reduced to 2200m were having on average their ninth career start and only one had started racing in the same year.

The Roses is the form I want to be with in the Oaks. I favour the more seasoned Mare Of Mt Buller, a robust filly ideally suited to the big Eagle Farm track, to prove the stronger stayer over the extra distance of the Oaks.




MARE OF MT BULLER 1; Scarlet Oak 2; Ahuriri 3; Molly Bloom 4; Firestorm 5; Concello 6.

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