$1million Group I VRC Oaks for three year-old fillies is the richest race for
fillies in the spring and the richest race for them full stop, so we've taken a
look at the 74 entries to see which might be suited to the marathon 2500 metre
Established stakes performers Dear Demi and Jade Marauder are among the entries which largely consist of lightly raced up and comers.
Dear Demi is a grand-daughter of Golden Slipper winner Merlene, by the versatile shuttle sire Dehere (USA) and while few of his stock have excelled beyond 2000 metres, her dam is by champion sire Zabeel, so she's a filly that could easily surprise.
Fastnet Rock sired last year's runaway winner Mosheen and has six entries this year led by Jade Marauder, whose female family is not exactly steeped with staying blood, but as we saw last year with Mosheen, class can carry you a long way.
Another filly that has been mixing it with those two in recent runs is the Bart Cummings trained Norzita (pictured www.stevehart.com.au) , who is by New Zealand Derby winner Jimmy Choux's sire Thorn Park from Visique, a daughter of English Derby winner Quest for Fame (GB).
Norzita comes from the Summoned family that features brilliant performers such as Zeditave and Melito, but there are some stayers in there including Greys Inn and Shikoba, so with Bart training, this filly looks a very serious contender.
High Chaparral (IRE) has yet to get a good filly in Australia but has two entered for the Oaks including the Gai Waterhouse trained Vaquera, who is bred to relish the trip. In her only three starts, Vaquera has shown more than enough ability to think she could give Waterhouse a first time win in the southern fillies Blue Riband.
Exciting filly Love for Ransom has shown potential in winning two of her three starts and on pedigree an Oaks assault looks a realistic goal. Her ill-fated sire Red Ransom (USA) can get a good horse over any distance and her dam Love and Emotion is from Group I AJC Australian Oaks winner My Brilliant Star.
It wouldn't be an Oaks without a Zabeel and there are five entered including a couple of promising maiden winners in Zydeco and La Zuma.
A Darley homebred prepared by Anthony Freedman, Zydeco is from Group I VATC Thousand Guineas winner All Time High, while the Mike Moroney trained La Zuma is from the winning Anabaa (USA) mare Countess Chloe, a grand-daughter of exceptional producer Eau D'Etoile.
By champion sire Sir Tristram, Eau D'Etoile had seven foals to race, all winners led by the Group I winning trio Bint Marscay, Filante and Kenny's Best Pal and her descendants include horses like Bollinger and Victoria Derby winner Benicio.
La Zuma (pictured Racepix Vic) won plenty of fans with her eye catching debut win at Ballarat last month and ran well again at Caulfield on Sunday over 1400 metres, so plenty of them will be wanting to follow her all the way to the Oaks.
Click here for the full list of Oaks nominations.