Provocative gains Oaks Start

Provocative, who has sneaked into the Queensland Oaks field tomorrow.

Provocative, who has sneaked into the Queensland Oaks field tomorrow.

Talented Kiwi filly Provocative has gained a start in the Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm tomorrow following the scratching of race rival Beluga Blue because of a leg injury. 

A daughter of Zabeel, Provocative had been well supported in futures markets following her impressive last start win at Ipswich, but punters were made to sweat when she was first emergency for the race following acceptances.

“Running in the Oaks was our plan A and her nomination in the Eagle Farm Cup was just a back-stop,” said her Cambridge trainer Tony Pike.

With a capacity field of 18, Provocative will jump from barrier 16 and, though Pike is confident his charge will relish the step up to 2400 metres, he is unsure how she will cope on the new Eagle Farm surface which is expected to be rain-affected.

“She’s never really run on anything worse than a dead 6 at home, but she’s a Zabeel and they do tend to handle some jar out of the ground,” he said.

“She’ll definitely get the trip but if it gets very, very wet by race seven she could be a slight query on the track conditions and I’m sure everyone else will be in the same boat.

New Zealand jockey Leith Innes has ridden Provocative to two of her three career victories and will take the mount tomorrow.

“She hasn’t been the easiest horse to ride and Leith knows her very well so he’s retained the ride and the owners have shown good loyalty to bring him over,” said Pike. “She was very difficult as a younger horse.”

Pike is delighted with the filly’s progress since her midweek victory over 2200m at Ispwich last month.

“I couldn’t be happier with her work during the week,” he said. “She’s thrived here in Queensland and her work on the course proper on Tuesday was superb.

“Although she struggled to handle the tight Ipswich track last start she was very dominant late and she was only second up so will strip much fitter on Saturday.”

– NZ Racing Desk.