NOMINAL VRC Oaks favourite Anchor Bid’s immediate future is in the balance after an underwhelming performance at Flemington.
Heavily backed to win the Kennedy Oaks Trial (1800m) and widely expected to secure an Oaks berth with victory, the star filly laboured into sixth place behind Pinot.
Bookmakers reacted immediately to a run trainer Darren Weir described as plain by replacing her at the head of markets by Aloisia and Pinot, who are now TAB $7 joints favourites for the classic. Anchor Bid drifted from $7-$11.
Jockey Mark Zahra could offer little explanation for the run.
“They didn’t go that quick but I thought we were in a spot to win at the top of the straight,” he said. “Got within two lengths but couldn’t finish off. Having a bit of a blow pulling up, not a massive one. Have to see how it pulled up.
Stephen Baster’s recommendation to remove blinkers from Pinot, a Pierro filly out of 2005 Australian Oaks winner Dizelle, was a masterstroke.
Representing Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Roger Elliott said the gear change improved Pinot’s manners after she surged away from Think Diamonds and Sweet Mischief. Four Koalas turned in another decent Oaks trial in fourth.
“She just raced a little bit keen the other day (at Bendigo) with the blinkers on and she relaxed really nice today and it was a good ride by Steve.
“She just got held up a little bit on the corner and then when she finally got clear, she went away. We were pretty confident, she’s been going really well.”