An outstanding lead-up win, a perfect draw and the best hands in the business have favourite My Whisper ($3.80) primed to claim the first Group 1 of the 2022 Adelaide Racing Carnival tomorrow.
Over the past 48 hours, the promising filly has been heavily backed to win the 2000m Australasian Oaks at Morphettville – and the betting trend makes perfect sense, given co-trainer Peter Snowden’s confidence.
Snowden says the engagement of gun hoop Jamie Kah and the likelihood of an easier run than last start – when the daughter of Frankel raced wide without cover while winning the Group 3 Auraria Stakes over 1800m – add up to a formidable combination.
“My Whisper does pull quite hard, but Jamie’s got very good hands and has ridden her twice in races before, for two wins,” Snowden said.
“The first time she rode her, she was three deep, no cover and on a loose rein. Other jockeys haven’t been able to do that.”
Through no fault of jockey Will Price, My Whisper endured a torrid run in the Auraria after drawing wide, but from barrier three tomorrow she should have every chance to run out the 2000m.
“I think she’ll get the distance no problem – as long as she settles,” Snowden said.
“A good draw is going to go a long way toward to helping her, I feel.
“Jamie knows her quite well and rides her well in races. She tends to get her relaxed really well – and if she can do that on Saturday, it’ll go a long way towards helping her win.”
On paper, the race looks to have solid pace, and Snowden is crossing his fingers.
“There’s actually a bit of speed there,” he said.
“I was surprised how quick they went last start over 1800m. The same sort of horses are there, plus a couple of others that roll forward, so it won’t surprise me to see a fast-run race.
“We’ll just be where she’s comfortable, whether that be three pairs back or something like that. She certainly won’t be last.
“It’s just a matter of getting her to find a spot and switch off, because she can get a little bit keen. She hasn’t learned to settle properly yet.
“It’s pretty important we get her covered up pretty quickly, but just not too far back – because the further back you are, the slower you have to go.
“I think if she’s in the first half a dozen when they settle, it’ll be perfect.”
While the stable has always rated My Whisper, the manner of the last-start win caught Snowden off guard.
“I was expecting a good run… but from the draw I thought we might need a bit of luck,” he said.
“So I was surprised she won considering the kind of run she had in the race. I thought it was too much to do.
“The fact she was able to do that just added further merit to the win, I thought.”
My Whisper returned to Melbourne between runs and was reunited with Kah at trackwork earlier this week.
Given the depth in the race, and a number of different formlines, Snowden stopped short of declaring his stable’s runner, but is confident of a strong showing.
“I really like the way she won the other day and her work on Tuesday was very good, so she certainly hasn’t gone backwards,” he said.
“She’s not a big filly. She’s still a bit immature, and very raw.
“But if they’ve got talent they can do things they shouldn’t be doing.
“And I believe she’s got good talent.”
Group 1 placegetter Bon’s A Pearla ($9.50) was beaten fair and square by My Whisper last start, but meets the winner better at the weights and is one of the few serious dangers to draw well (barrier five).
Patrick Payne’s Douceur ($14) could be the value runner, provided she has overcome a lameness issue after her disappointing run at Caulfield last start. Douceur finished second in the Group 1 VRC Oaks over 2500m last November, and was desperately unlucky two starts back at Moonee Valley in a Group 3 mile event.
Local hope Mac ‘N’ Cheese ($12) was also well beaten by My Whisper last start, but shows great staying promise, although from a wide barrier is likely to be conceding the favourite many lengths at the top of the Morphettville straight.
Daisies ($9) comes through a solid last-start third against the males, while Mamounia ($15) has drawn the extreme outside barrier but has champion Damien Oliver on board, is already proven at the distance and was impressive last start at Caulfield.