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No Oaks bid for Tacumwah

Thu 6 June 2024

By Craig Brennan and Brad Bishop

The Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman stable will rely on Mollynickers in the Queensland Oaks with Tacumwah staying home to run at Flemington.

Plans to run Tacumwah in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks have been abandoned and instead the Moody and Coleman-trained filly will run at Flemington.

Moody said the drier ground was instrumental in the decision to keep Tacumwah on home soil.

"I did have her in the Queensland Oaks, but I decided to not accept with her up there on the wet ground," Moody said.

While Tacumwah will not be taking her place in the Queensland Oaks over 2200 metres at Eagle Farm on Saturday, Moody and Coleman will still have representation in the shape of Mollynickers who will be ridden by Carleen Hefel.

The Victorian-based rider reunites with the filly after Jim Byrne had the mount when Mollynickers finished ninth in the Group 2 The Roses over 2000 metres at Doomben on May 25.

Moody is thankful Mollynickers has drawn a decent barrier on Saturday.

"She's in good order and thankfully we've drawn a barrier for once," Moody said.

"I'm hopeful we'll be able to hold a midfield spot because we've had to drag her back to last in her past few runs because she's drawn wide.

"I don't think she's a genuine stayer, but you could say that about most of the field.

"She can have this and then go for a spell, but I'm pleased she'll have the chance to hold a midfield position which should enable her to be competitive and to run out the trip."

Meanwhile, favourite backers won't mind if this Saturday's Queensland Oaks follows the same script as the 2023 edition.

Heading betting on the $700,000 Group 1 is the Chris Waller-trained filly Scarlet Oak, who is attempting to win the 2200 metre race in the same year that she made her debut.

That was something that had not been done in the modern era until Amokura won the Oaks at her sixth start, 104 days after finishing fourth in a 1250 metre Taree maiden on debut.

Scarlet Oak, who like Amokura is a daughter of Kermadec, is preparing for the fifth start in a career that began on March 13 with a 1400 metre maiden win at Matamata – 87 days before the Oaks.

The Oaks' change in distance from 2400 to 2200 metres might have helped its accessibility to fillies off lighter preparations.

There have been seven Queensland Oaks at 2200 metres and only Winx (2015) and Winning Ways (2019), who won at starts 12 and 13 respectively, had raced at least 10 times before the Oaks.

Only five of the 16 Queensland Oaks at 2400 metres this century was won by a horse who hadn't had at least 10 starts.

The change in distance has coincided with a shift away from Group 2 The Roses over 2000 metres being the definitive Oaks lead-up.

Nine of the last 10 winners before the Oaks shifted to 2200 metres in 2015 had their final lead-up run in The Roses but just twice since, Youngstar (2018) and Winning Ways, has the Oaks winner contested The Roses.

The first seven home in this year's The Roses – Scarlet Oak, Mare Of Mt Buller, Miss Joelene, Our Gold Hope, Molly Bloom, Kind Words and Good Banter – are running on Saturday, along with Mollynickers (ninth), Oceans Of Energy (11th) and Amazonian Lass (13th).

The most highly fancied runner who did not come through The Roses is Ahuriri, who has been $7.50 into $5.50 after a luckless fifth in the Group 1 SA Derby over 2500 metres.

Single-figure odds runners have dominated the Oaks of late with $21 chance Winnings Ways the only winner longer than $8 in the past 12 years.

Six favourites have won in that time with Scarlet Oak and Ahuriri joined by Molly Bloom and Mare Of Mt Buller as those at single-figure odds in this year's event.