Scarlet Oak wins Roses to earn Classic favouritism

Chris Waller has labelled Scarlet Oak a "rising star" after the lightly raced filly staked her Group One Queensland Oaks claims with a classy win over stablemate Mare Of Mt Buller in the $300,000, Group 2 Doomben Roses (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.

The Kermadec filly has come a long way in a short time, making a winning debut in New Zealand in March before landing in Sydney where she placed in Group 3 company over the autumn carnival.

Earning a trip north with an emphatic victory at Newcastle last start, Scarlet Oak tallied an important black-type win in The Roses to cement herself a spot in the Queensland Oaks (2200m) in two weeks.

"(Owner) Ozzie Kheir purchased her out of New Zealand from Ken Kelso, who's a trainer I respect, and I spoke to him and he said, 'she's the real deal but needs a bit of furnishing' so the best is yet to come," Waller said.

"She's taking it all within her stride. The only reason she is still up here - because she does need time - (is because) she is eating everything and she is enjoying it.

"There are no signs of stress, so we'll push on for two weeks' time."

Queensland has been a happy hunting ground for Waller, who has used the winter carnival to season a number of his top horses, including champion Winx.

Winx didn't contest The Roses, but she triumphed in the 2015 Queensland Oaks, the second victory in her 33-race winning streak.

Waller has won the Roses twice before with Only Words (2021) and Youngstar (2018), and Scarlet Oak will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of the latter who is the last filly to capture the Roses-Oaks double.

"It's a great platform for a lot of our horses," Waller said of the Brisbane winter carnival.

"That's the beauty of Australian racing, you've got it fifty-two weeks of the year you can take advantage of it with a late developer and a rising star."

Waller produced the quinella in The Roses with Scarlet Oak ($3.60 fav) edging out Mare Of Mt Buller ($31) while local filly Miss Jolene ($61) flashed home down the outside for third.

Winning jockey James McDonald said he had a brief moment of concern when he was cramped for room at the top of the straight but Scarlet Oak was good enough to get herself out of trouble.

His only word of caution was whether the 2200-metres of the Oaks was her ideal distance.

"I think she will come back faster next prep, she feels like a miler to me," McDonald said.

"But she's extremely talented and her talent is going to have to really shine through in two weeks."

Bookmakers reacted to Scarlet Oak's win, winding her into $3 outright favouritism for the Oaks, ahead of Molly Bloom ($4), who finished fifth in The Roses.