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Celestial Falls to put Oaks hopes on show

mark newnham
Sydney trainer Mark Newnham is aiming to win the VRC Oaks Trial for the second consecutive year.

After winning the Oaks Trial at Flemington a year ago with Greysful Glamour, Sydney trainer Mark Newnham and jockey Tim Clark are looking to repeat the feat with a sibling of the 2018 winner.

Newnham has sent Celestial Falls to Melbourne for Wednesday’s Oaks Trial (1800m) for three-year-old fillies and victory would clinch her a spot in the Group One VRC Oaks (2500m) in November.

Celestial Falls’ half-sister Greysful Glamour went on to finish second in the Oaks last spring, two starts after winning the Trial.

Newnham has had Wednesday’s race in mind for Celestial Falls as an Oaks stepping stone for the past three months.

“I’ve had similar thoughts to Greysful Glamour right from when she had her first couple of runs,” Newnham said.

“So when she won at Randwick at the end of her first preparation in June, I’ve given her a program with the Oaks in mind.

“This is a good opportunity to give her a look around at Flemington at a good distance for her.

“And hopefully we end up there on Oaks day.”

Celestial Falls has one win and two seconds from four starts, with her victory coming over 1550m on Randwick’s Kensington track on June 10.

The filly resumed with a second to Subpoenaed over 1300m on the Kensington track on September 4 and Newnham believes she is ready for the step up in distance.

“Each run she has had her last furlong has been the strongest part of her race,” he said.

“Everything indicates the step up in distance will be perfect for her.”

In two runnings of the race, the winners have gone on to make an impression in the Oaks.

Pinot did the double in 2017 before Greysful Glamour beat all bar Aristia last year.

“It’s only a new race but it’s showing already it’s a good form line. It gives a good guide into an Oaks chance,” Newnham said.

“I won’t be doing too much different.”

Sydney-based Clark makes the trip for one ride on Wednesday, the same as he did at the corresponding meeting last year.

Celestial Falls was the $3.30 favourite on Tuesday while the Lindsey Smith-trained Olympic Oath was $4.20 favourite for the Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) for three-year-old colts and geldings.

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