NEXT weekend’s $150,000 Victorian Oaks is shaping as one of the best features of the Victoria Cup carnival if tonight’s two $24,000 heats are any criteria.
And ace trainer-driver David Moran is the man in the hot seat.
Moran scored an amazing nine metre win with the Emma Stewart-trained Beach Music in the first heat of the Oaks, romping away to beat Platinum Sparkle and Outa The Blue by a widening margin of 9.9m, rating 1:58.1 in winning as she liked.
Moran then came out and was just as impressive in winning the second heat with Ladies In Red beating her Emma Stewart-trained stablemate Joanna, with outsider Dancing Finn in third place in a 1:57 mile rate.
So Emma Stewart trained the quinella in both Oaks heats.
“Like I said last week – she [Beach Music] has come such a long way this season,” said Moran.
“The gap between her and the others has certainly been bridged.
“I guess I have a close spot in my heart for Ladies In Red.
“But if this filly drew to lead in next week’s final and the other filly drew off the back, it would certainly make things very difficult.”
Moran admitted there was still little between the top filles but Ladies In Red was still something special.
“This filly [Beach Music] probably hasn’t been tested yet,” said Moran after that first heat.
“Her NSW Oaks runs were fantastic and she’s looked the goods back here since then too.
“She is a horse that could mathematically make it impossible for her rivals [to beat her].
“One thing, when driving for Emma and Clayton, you know their horses are rock-hard fit.
“You know you can do whatever you need to do with them and they’re fit enough and ready to do the job.”
“I think Beach Music might have a slight edge . . . at the moment.
“But Ladies In Red is pretty special and she wouldn’t be out of place in one of those Derby heats.
“She’s been given time with a couple of little issues and now hopefully she can take the next step and go even further.”
Ladies In Red then came out half an hour later and beat a gallant Joanna, who made a mid-race move and never shirked her task in the race in finishing second, well ahead of the third horse.
“She did that pretty arrogantly tonight but then again so did Beach Music,” grinned Moran.
“She’s a pretty casual little girl and only does what she has to. I’m sure if I popped the plugs she could go a little bit better again.
“She’s a pretty plain jane, there’s not a lot to her.
“Yet she’s a kind and beautiful little filly, although she is a dead-set pony.
“They’re all pretty professional. Beach Music might lack a little bit of gate speed compared to the others. But they’re all pretty level.
“I don’t normally watch barrier draws, but I’ll be watching this one pretty closely.”