Ad Zardozi ridden by Chad Schofield wins the TAB Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on October 07, 2023 in Flemington, Australia. (Photo by George Sal/Racing Photos)

Kennedy Oaks race preview

8 November 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

The 2023 Kennedy Oaks is shaping up as one of the most competitive in recent history and the two traditional lead ups look key to finding the standouts.

The Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) has been a good pointer in recent years with Willowy and Miami Bound both doing the double in the past five years.

This year’s winner, Amazonian Lass, rates somewhere in between a below-average Willowy and a good Miami Bound. Zardozi actually earnt the highest rating in the race given she carried 2kg more than Amazonian Lass.

Zardozi was the eye-catcher and naturally looks the one to take out of the race, but Amazonian Lass isn’t to be discounted. She set up a strong tempo and while there may have been an advantage to be on speed on a fast deck, the other fillies on speed dropped right out.

Both fillies have strong staying blood. Zardozi is by Kingman and Amazonian Lass by More Than Ready, with Galileo blood on her dam’s side. Zardozi deserves to be favourite given her closing splits and starting price in the Wakeful, but both are live chances.

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott also saddle up Tropical Squall, who ran second in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m). Similarly to Amazonian Lass, she set up a strong enough tempo and perhaps went for home a touch too early but was run down by Autumn Angel.

The speed figure for the Wakeful was stronger than the Ethereal, and Amazonian Lass was still the fifth-fastest last 200m of that race whereas Tropical Squall was seventh, definitely stopping faster late which gives a query at 2500m. Interestingly, her dam’s sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, beat Amazonian Lass’ sire More Than Ready in the 2000 Kentucky Derby.

The big closer in the Ethereal, other than Autumn Angel, was Basilinna. She ran the fastest last 600 and 400m of that race and now draws a gate where she might be able to hold a spot. She’s probably about her right price, just inside double figures, but whether she can land close enough to the likes of Zardozi and be able to sprint past her remains to be seen.

Happy to side with the quinella from the Wakeful, with Zardozi deserving of favouritism and Amazonian Lass the better value of the Waterhousea and Bott pair.

Flemington turns purple for Kennedy Oaks Day as the community comes together for The Good Friday Appeal. Be part of this special day with friends, family, colleagues and the whole community. Celebrate over food, fashion, and elite thoroughbred racing headlined by the three-year-old fillies in the time-honoured Group 1 Kennedy Oaks. Tickets available now.