Ahndras Takes Vital Step To Australian Oaks

Toby Edmonds trainer of Ahndras after his MM win with Houtzen. Photo courtesy of Ross Stevenson.

Toby Edmonds trainer of Ahndras after his MM win with Houtzen. Photo courtesy of Ross Stevenson.

Gold Coast-trained filly Ahndras will test her credentials for an Australian Oaks start when she steps up to 2020 metres at Doomben.

Ahndras will be attempting to win her fourth race in a row in the QTIS Three-Year-Old (2020m) on Saturday.

Another win will set the filly on a path to the Group One Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 8.

Staying three-year-old fillies are rare in Queensland with limited success in the major Oaks races around Australia.

The Jim Atkins-trained Just Now in 1986 is the only Queensland filly to win the Australian Oaks while Roy Dawson's Scomeld is the only Queenslander to take the VRC Oaks.

Toby Edmonds, who trains Golden Slipper second favourite Houtzen, has had a big opinion of Ahndras since she was transferred to his stable after one Sydney start last year.

"She has been up for a long time and we monitor her closely," Edmonds said.

"But she continues to race well and if that continues she will start in the Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill two weeks after Saturday.

"It will then be on to the Oaks, all being well."

Edmonds made it clear if he felt Ahndras was starting to come to the end of her campaign he would abort a Sydney trip.

"There is the Queensland Oaks as a back-up," he said.

Ahndras will take her prize money to just under $140,000 if she wins on Saturday which should be enough to ensure she gets a start in the Oaks.

Jeff Lloyd has ridden Ahndras to her past three wins and will retain the ride on Saturday despite the filly being lumped with 59kg.

"I think she is looking for a longer trip now. She can be lazy but can sprint very quickly at the finish," Lloyd said.

Racing Queensland has programmed more distance races for three-year-old fillies hoping to encourage more owners to chase staying type mares.

It will be a boost for the idea should Ahndras win an Oaks.

By Mark Oberhardt

BRISBANE, March 8 AAP