Smith mulling over Group 1 Queensland Oaks assault
A Tuesday morning track gallop will determine if trainer Matthew Smith gives the green light for staying filly Atonement to take her place in Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Doomben.
Smith will make his way up to Brisbane from Sydney to watch his daughter of Dundeel up close before deciding if she will accept for the fillies feature with the barrier draw to take place on Tuesday.
“I will make a final decision after I gallop her but we will need to see her work good,” Smith said.
“I just want her to be keen to do it and want to be there so if she can put in a nice piece of work we will give her a chance.”
Smith has had the Oaks on his radar since Atonement finished third in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) last December but a disappointing last start effort put some doubt over the Group 1 tilt.
Atonement led the field up in the Group 2 The Roses but went too hard up front and was one of the first horses beaten in the traditional lead up.
Smith is set to make a crucial gear change if the filly is to line up in Saturday’s feature event.
“She has done well since her last start and I think we will take the blinkers off her on the weekend and just see what happens,” he said.
“She just went way too hard the other day and that was it.”
Atonement is a $34 outsider with TAB in All In betting for the Queensland Oaks with Australian Oaks runner up Duais holding favouritism at $4.50.
Bargain, Charms Star and Grace and Harmony are all $6 chances.
Star Sydney jockey James McDonald will face the Racing NSW Appeals Panel this week in a bid to ride in the Queensland Oaks as he looks to get a careless riding ban overturned.
He was set to pilot one of trainer Chris Waller’s runners.
Originally published asFilly’s quest for Oaks Atonement decided Tuesday
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