Oaks delay no problem for Smerdon pair

Robert Smerdon doesn’t expect the one week delay to the Queensland Oaks to have any effect on his stable’s two runners.

The Group One Classic has been added to Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap program after torrential rain caused last week’s Eagle Farm meeting to be called off.

Smerdon has Chabaud and Dulverton in the 2400m-race for three-year-old fillies along with Zafiki who is the fourth emergency.

“The delay shouldn’t be a problem as everyone’s in the same boat,” Smerdon said.

“You’ve got the same competition so I don’t see how it will change things.”

The only thing that has changed is the rider for Dulverton.

With Mark Zahra having started a suspension, Dwayne Dunn, who is booked to ride stablemate Under The Louvre in the Stradbroke Handicap, will take the Dulverton mount.

Leading Queensland apprentice James Orman has the ride on Chabaud, a last-start winner of the South Australian Fillies Classic at Morphettville in May.

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Smerdon stayed in Melbourne on Tuesday but said reports were good after Chabaud and Dulverton had a solid gallop at Eagle Farm in preparation for Saturday’s race.

“They haven’t missed a beat,” he said.

“They both galloped on the course proper this morning.

“I wasn’t there but those in charge were happy with what they did and the way they did it.”

Chabaud is regarded the pick of the Smerdon runners at $11 in latest Oaks markets with Dulverton a $23 chance and Zafiki one of the outsiders at $61.

A decision on whether Provocative, the $8 third favourite, takes her place or runs in Saturday’s Queensland Derby is still to be made.

Clouding the decision is the Oaks is to be the last race on Saturday’s 10-event program with the fear the track could be chopped up.

The Bjorn Baker-trained Imposing Lass heads Oaks betting at $6 with Falkenberg at $7.

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