Think Money was one of 19 final acceptors for Saturday’s 2400-metre feature and drew ideally in gate three on Wednesday.
Ekstreme, one of several strong New Zealand hopes, drew gate eight, last-start Doomben Roses winner Awesome Planet came up with a horror barrier, 18, while Nothin’ Leica Cat, Damien Oliver’s mount, will jump from 17 for the Anthony Cummings stable.
The John Wheeler-trained Juice will start from barrier one while Peter Snowden’s Purple has gate six.
Ekstreme retained favouritism at $4.80 with TAB Sportsbet following the draw while Think Money was equal second favourite with Nothin’ Leica Cat and Purple at $6.
Michael Cahill has been cleared to ride Think Money after scans on Wednesday cleared him of any serious damage to his left shoulder which he hurt in a Caloundra fall two weeks ago.
Cummings won the Queensland Oaks with Round The World in 1987 but attempting to end the long drought doesn’t faze the Leilani Lodge stable.
Long-time travelling foreman Reg Fleming dismisses the Queensland Oaks as being some kind of hoodoo for his boss.
“They said the same thing about Viewed last year before he won the Brisbane Cup,” Fleming said.
“Bart won the Brisbane Cup for the first time in 33 years when Viewed won 12 months ago.
“He hadn’t won the race since Herminia was successful (in 1975).
“Viewed then went on to become the first horse since Macdougal to win the Brisbane and Melbourne Cups double last year.
“Records like those are nothing for Bart. He can do these things and anyway, he’s set most of them.”
Macdougal won the Melbourne Cup in 1959.
Fleming is confident Cummings, who has won 12 Melbourne Cups, can add another Group One to his current tally of 252 wins at the highest level.
Think Money was runner-up to New Zealand filly Daffodil in the Group One AJC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 18.
She then headed to Brisbane and ran a sensational trial for the Queensland Oaks by storming home into fifth place in the Group Three Doomben Roses (2020m) won by Awesome Planet on May 16.
Fleming has warned rival stables not to underestimate the daughter of Danehill Dancer despite her remaining a maiden performer.
From 16 starts, Think Money has produced four seconds and three thirds but the elusive victory is yet to arrive.
“Her Doomben Roses run was terrific considering she hadn’t raced for a month and got held up for a run at the top of the straight,” Fleming said.
“She had a good blow after the Doomben Roses and I’ve got little doubt she’s improved.
“It’s not an easy race and is very open and I think Ekstreme, who also ran a big race in the Roses, will be hard to beat and Purple will be in the mix if the track is wet.”
Article by Glenn Davis of Aapracing