Kate has taken the first step towards the G1 Victorian Oaks at Flemington on November 8. Trainer Wayne Hillis revealed his filly will be set for the million-dollar classic after winning her maiden over 1200m at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Kate (2f St Reims – Dutowin by Danasinga) was back in action after a 22 week spell following a G2 failure in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes in February. “We’ve always thought a bit of her and she got the job done first-up,” Hillis said afterwards. “The VRC Oaks is our aim and we’re on our way now.”
Racing for owner-breeder Don Skelton, the (NZ) filly will head for the LR Wanganui Guineas (1340m) in September before stepping up in distance ahead of the trip to Melbourne.
“The Victoria Oaks hadn’t attracted a full field for several years so there isn’t any great pressure to qualify her,” Hillis added. “We can tailor a preparation to best suit the filly so that she peaks for the Oaks.
Hillis sent Boulevardofdreams (NZ) across the Tasman in 2004 and the Daggers Drawn filly finished third in the G1 Australian Oaks at Randwick.
Kate is by Grangewilliam Stud sire St Reims (Zabeel) who was a G1 winner of the 2002 New Zealand Derby and 2005 Zabeel Classic.
The Victorian Oaks has been something of a hoodoo for Kiwi bred fillies. The 2010 winner Brazilian Pulse has been the only (NZ) winner since Weekend Delight, Richfield Lady and Slight Chance completed a running treble between 1990 – 1992.