Nakeeta Jane’s performance in the Surround Stakes will determine her path to the Australilan Oaks.
While the Australian Oaks remains the main goal for Nakeeta Jane this autumn, the path she takes to get there will be determined by her performance in the Group One Surround Stakes.
Trainer Mark Newnham is keeping the door ajar on several options, including taking on the older mares in next month’s Coolmore Classic, or the three-year-old colts and geldings in the Randwick Guineas.
“Saturday will decide what the third run is,” Newnham said.
“It will either be the Phar Lap Stakes or the Coolmore, and a rough possibility is the Randwick Guineas which would mean backing her up the following week.”
Nakeeta Jane is on the second line of betting for the Surround Stakes after resuming with a brilliant performance to win the Light Fingers Stakes earlier this month.
The victory cemented her status as a rising star of the three-year-old fillies’ ranks after she put the writing on the wall in the spring when she was Group One placed in the Flight Stakes at just her third start.
Newnham described Nakeeta Jane’s preparation leading into Saturday’s race as “faultless” and said the mare was topped off by a gallop on the course proper at Warwick Farm on Monday when she worked with stablemate and fellow Surround Stakes runner Greysful Glamour.
Runner up in the VRC Oaks, Greysful Glamour finished midfield in the Light Fingers after a wide run.
She is also being aimed towards the Australian Oaks and Newnham expects her to improve as she steps up in distance, although he won’t be surprised to see her run well on Saturday if she can take up a forward position.
“Her best runs have actually been when she gets up on the pace, whether she’s quick enough to do that over 1400 I’m not sure,” he said.
“She raced well the other day because she probably had the toughest run in the race and only got beaten two-and-a-half lengths.”
Nakeeta Jane is on the second line of betting at $5.50 behind equal $5 favourites Fiesta and Pohutukawa in a race where only three of the 15 horses are longer than $21.
Newnham isn’t surprised by the depth in the Surround and says as a group, the current generation of three-year-old fillies have been above average from the start.
“If you look back at their two-year-old year, the fillies dominated in the Slipper, the Sires’ and the Champagne so they’ve always been a good bunch of fillies,” he said.
“It’s no surprise they’ve trained on, and we’ve got a few new ones in the mix including mine.”