Wakeful the Kennedy Oaks’ proven path

8 November 2023 Written by Brad Bishop – Racing & Sports

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have had the favourite for Thursday’s Kennedy Oaks from the time Tropical Squall won the Group 1 Flight Stakes in late-September, but it might be another member of the stable that provides them with victory.

Amazonian Lass charged up markets on the 2500-metre Group 1 with an all-the-way win in Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes.

That 2000-metre Group 2 has long been the best guide to the Victoria Racing Club’s signature event for three-year-old fillies.

The Wakeful Stakes/Kennedy Oaks is one of the most-completed feature doubles in Australian racing history.

The Oaks is as old as the Melbourne Cup, but the Wakeful was not first run until 1932 meaning there have been 91 Melbourne Cup Carnivals that both races have been run.

Thirty-eight times the double has been done, which is 41.75 percent of the those editions.

Willowy is the most recent to have done it, two years ago, while Miami Bound (2019), Aristia (2018) and Kirramosa (2013) the others in the last decade.

Despite her win, Amazonian Lass was a $9.50 chance for the Oaks with TAB on Wednesday morning and only two Wakeful winners have started a longer price in the Oaks in the past 25 years.

Rocha, who scored a shock Wakeful win at $31 in 2008, finished fifth as a $14 chance in the Oaks, while 2014 Wakeful winner Thunder Lady was $10 when she finished second in the Oaks.

Zardozi, the filly Amazonian Lass narrowly defeated in the Wakeful Stakes, is favourite at $2.90 and has the task of continuing the good job of making it a hat-trick of wins for the punters’ pick following Willowy ($3.80) and She’s Extreme ($2.30).

They are the only favourites to have scored since 2014 but there was a good run of favourites in the lead-up to that with eight of the previous 11 getting the job done, while since 2003 the only winner who started longer than $7.50 was 100/1 shot Lasqueti Spirit in 2016.

The only other runner at a sub-$7.50 quote this year is Tropical Squall, who is looking to join Samantha Miss (2008), Slight Chance (1992), Research (1988) and Nizam’s Ring (1947) as the only fillies to complete the Flight Stakes/Kennedy Oaks double.

Next in line, at $8.50, is Basilinna, who is Damien Oliver’s shot at one final Kennedy Oaks win.

The Hall of Fame hoop won three in a row aboard Miami Bound, Personal and Willowy from 2019-21 which saw him join seven-time winner Bobby Lewis as the most successful jockey in Oaks history.

Lewis is the only rider to have won one of the Cup Carnival’s Group 1 events eight times, something he achieved in the Victoria Derby, a feat Oliver is striving to emulate aboard Basilinna.

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.