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Oak Door earns Australian Guineas chance

A last-start Group Two win has earned the Robert Smerdon-trained Oak Door a shot at the Australian Guineas.

Smerdon is planning to start Oak Door in Saturday’s Group One race for three-year-oldsover 1600m at Flemington and he could be joined by stablemate Theanswermyfriend.

Oak Door is a winner over 1400m at Flemington and notched his first stakes victory at Caulfield over that distance in the Autumn Stakes on February 11.

He beat Attention with that colt narrowly missing a place in the weight-for-age Group One Futurity Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Connections had considered the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m), won by Farson, at Caulfield on Saturday but decided to give the colt his chance in the Group One Guineas.

“We thought we’d give him the chance at the higher level,” Smerdon said.

“They’re only three-year-olds once. So we’ll roll the dice.

“He was in the early nominations so it was in the back of our mind. But when he came out here and won the Group Two then you had to give it serious consideration.”

Oak Door will be racing over 1600m for the first time and Damian Lane, who won the Autumn Stakes on the colt, is booked for the ride.

Theanswermyfriend won a benchmark race for three-year-olds at Sandown last start and is at $13 in TAB Fixed Odds all-in Guineas market while Oak Door is at $17.

“Theanswermyfriend will be paid up for but he’ is number 30 in the ballot,” Smerdon said.

“We’ll see whether he makes the cut. Those declarations were taken last Tuesday so it’s a current batch.

“If he doesn’t get a run he’ll run in the 1400-metre race.”

There is a 1400m handicap for three-year-olds on Saturday’s program.

The Tony McEvoy-trained Hey Doc, dominant winner of the C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) last start at Flemington, is the $3.80 favourite for the Guineas.

He finished third in the Group One Caulfield Guineas in the spring.

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