Darren Weir is yet to decide whether he saddles up Tiamo Grace in the group 1 $1m Victoria Oaks, 2500m, at Flemington on Thursday.
Tiamo Grace ($5) emerged as a major contender for the three-year-old fillies’ classic after running away with Saturday’s group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes, 2000m – the traditional lead up to the Oaks - at Flemington.
She is second favourite after powering to the line by more than a length from Sebring Dream ($4.40 favourite), with Missrock ($6) third.
Weir’s racing manager Jeremy Rogers said Weir would look at her over the next couple of days and decide whether to push on or have a break and get ready for the autumn.
"He will probably make that decision on Monday.”
Rogers represented the Ballarat stable in post-race media interviews after Weir missed the race.
"Darren is stuck in traffic," Rogers said.
He said Weir would undoubtedly be pleased.
"This filly is progressive and is improving. We took her to Murtoa for her last start and then she stepped up here. That's a Darren Weir special."
Tiamo Grace was immediately cut from $7 to $4.40 for the Oaks, with Yankee Rose holding sway at $1.90.
Tiamo Grace's jockey Damian Lane has no doubt that she should head to the Oaks if she is fit and well.
"I only let her down for 50 metres," Lane said. "She'll have no problems running the trip in the Oaks."
Tiamo Grace now boasts two wins, two seconds and a third in five career starts for $243,600 in stakes.
While she could not have been more impressive, Michelle Payne's hopes to ride and train a stakes winner suffered a setback with Queen Of Zealand beating just one runner home in the Wakeful.
However, the Ballarat horsewoman has not given up on an Oaks start yet.
Payne told Racing.com that Queen of Zealand, which was having only her second start since arriving from NZ ran a reasonable race as she over-raced early.
“I think she showed that she needed that extra lead-up run as she was way too keen," Payne said.
"If we decide to run her in the Oaks, we'll leave the ear muffs on her to help her settle down a bit and she'll take improvement from being here today."
Meanwhile, Payne will have her second starter as a trainer on her home track Sportsbet-Ballarat on Monday.
Four-year-old gelding Duke of Nottingham will make his race debut in the first event on an eight-race program, the Mercy Regional Maiden Plate, 1000m.
Payne is one of 15 Ballarat trainers with starters for the return of racing to the track after an interrupted few months.
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