It’s no easy feat to qualify three runners for any feature final and Devon Meadows trainers Peter and Natalie Presutto hope it will translate into victory in Sunday afternoon’s Healesville Oaks final (350m) – Race 6 at 12.19pm.
The Presuttos have the fastest heat winner in Jazz Opera, winner of the Group 3 Vic Bred Maiden at The Meadows on Australian Cup night in February, which claimed her third straight win and fifth from 13 overall with a 19.55sec qualifying performance.
It was Jazz Opera’s second win from three starts at Healesville; however, her hot streak came to an unlucky end at Cranbourne on Wednesday night when luckless in a GRV Vic Bred final.
Superbly-bred litter sisters Mania and Real Reward qualified for the Oaks Final when running third and fourth in the other heat, won by Unreasonable, trained by Mark Filomeno, in 19.66sec.
Mania (4 wins from 17 starts) and Real Reward (4 from 16) are daughters of US sire KC And All and Captivating, and are littermates to multiple G1 finalist Equalizer as well as classy sprinter Immunity and half-sisters to former superstar Black Opium.
“I can’t really pick one as our best chance,” Peter Presutto said.
“Jazz Opera is boxed really well in seven but Mania is definitely the quickest up the straight.
“Jazz Opera wasn’t well-boxed at Cranbourne on Wednesday and got crowded. She likes middle to wide so she’s much better drawn at Healesville. She pulled up fine, which is the main thing.
“Mania generally gets out and goes but she’s been dwelling at the start recently so hopefully she gets that right on Sunday.
“Mania put Real Reward out of the race last week but Real Reward is the type of dog that if she gets a clear run she’s very strong – she won a heat of the Launching Pad at Sandown in 29.43sec.
“There are others in the race that can win but with our three it will come down to who gets the luck and who doesn’t. But they’re all capable of winning.
“We were lucky enough that Serge and Bill (Buccilli, breeders) gave us Mania to train and then me and my three sons, James, Aaron and Daniel, bought Real Reward. We formed the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf syndicate because I used to call the boys the ‘three little pigs’ and they reckoned I was the ‘Big Bad Wolf!’”
Craigieburn trainer Mark Filomeno has two finalists after $45 outsider Unreasonable and $2.60 favourite Gunai Rebel ran the quinella in the first of the two heats.
WATCH: Jazz Opera (5) was on song, clocking the fastest qualifying time (19.55sec) in a Healesville Oaks heat (350m) last week.
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