Sunday afternoon’s Healesville Oaks Final (350m) shapes as a showdown between exciting bookends Bring Your Banjo (box 1) and Bareki (box 8).
Both youngsters have excellent strike rates early in their careers, with Bring Your Banjo claiming her 14th win from 26 starts when setting the pace in last weekend’s Oaks heats, where she upset odds on favourite Bareki, the winner of five from eight.
Bring Your Banjo finished too strongly for Bareki, scoring by 1 ½ lengths in 19.38s, the quicker of the two Oaks heats.
“I was hoping she’d win last week but Bareki won up at Bendigo when we were there with Bring Your Banjo and she went quicker,” said Moe trainer Lisa Davis.
“We’re very happy with how Bring Your Banjo is going.
WATCH: Bring Your Banjo (B8) defeat Bareki (B1) in the Oaks heats last week.
“Ray (Cunneen) and I bred her and broke her in ourselves. There were five in the litter and they’ve all won, so it’s quite a good litter.
“We’ve also got Callum Ari, which has won nine races and hopefully another one is about to win this afternoon! (Lisa got her wish when Emma Banjo was a Best Of Day 22.58s winner at Warragul on Thursday).”
Davis has good reason to be upbeat about Bring Your Banjo’s prospects in the $5600 to-the-winner Oaks decider; however she concedes the move from box eight to box one could be problematic for the daughter of former star sprinter Banjo Boy.
“She was out in the eight last week and she seems to like wider boxes, where she can stay out of trouble,” Davis explained.
“It all depends on whether she can get out on Sunday.
“The way they’re boxing the dogs at the moment probably won’t help either. She was the last dog boxed last week and she’ll be first this week. She could be in there for a minute or so.
“She does like Healesville. The first time she won there she’d never been there before and a lot of people told me they can’t win at Healesville unless they’ve been there but she and Callum Ari both won their first starts there.
“We’re yet to see if she can run 500. We’ve probably been a bit slow stepping her up but we haven’t pushed her and we don’t want to push her. When you step them up too soon they can lose their early speed and that’s what she’s got – early speed!
“I give her a good chance on Sunday but we’ll see what happens. After this we might have a go at the Bendigo Cup.”