Kristen Buchanan’s talented mare Oakfield Arrow handed her one of her biggest career wins when she took out last year’s $500,000 Four Pillars at Rosehill.
On Saturday she makes her long anticipated return in the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Qualifier on her home track in her quest to add another lucrative race to her resume.
And Buchanan only has one chance to get it right, with Oakfield Arrow ineligible for the Wildcard at Newcastle the following Thursday.
“We’ve had to have her spot on for Saturday and I think she is. This race was our plan all along and she likes Wyong,” she said.
The five-year-old went straight to the paddock following her impressive Four Pillars victory on October 29 and has trialled twice leading into the race.
Buchanan has her primed for a first up win and believes she is the type of horse who can take out the series.
“You need a very flexible horse to be successful in this series and she is definitely that,” Buchanan said. “There is intensity in these races that goes beyond group racing because everyone is just so desperate to get into the final it changes how the races are run.
“You have to have a horse who ideally can go on any surface and cope with different patterns of racing. This mare is beautifully mannered and that’s what won her the Four Pillars. She drew a terrible gate, but you can ask her to go forward and settle and then go again. She’s manoeuvrable, can lead, sit back, run on, it just depends on what unfolds.”
With 20 previous starts, Buchanan has had to go first up into the Wyong Qualifier with Oakfield Arrow the meet eligibility but has no qualms about her fitness.
“She’s ticked all the boxes with a couple of good trials and has done plenty of work. The race has worked in really well with her programming and we’d be silly not to give it a shot with the prizemoney on offer. She’ll have to win or finish second to progress because she will have had too many runs to get a second chance in the Wild Card.
“She certainly hasn’t gone backwards since her Four Pillars win and I will be targeting some black type fillies and mares races for her this campaign.”
Oakfield Arrow was a $170,000 Magic Millions yearling purchased by prolific owner/breeder Bruce McKenzie. She has had five wins and five placings from her 20 starts to date, for almost $500,000 in prizemoney.
A previous 1350m winner at Wyong, the mare will be ridden by Aaron Bullock on Saturday, who will have to overcome barrier 12.
Fellow Wyong trainers Kim Waugh, Damien Lane and Tracey Bartley all saddle up runners in the race, with all three having already qualified runners for the final.
The feature race will be run at 5.05pm, with the first of eight at 1.05pm.
Race 1 – 1.05pm: LAKES PODIATRY 3YO MAIDEN (1000m): 1 RUSSIAN ROSE, 2 Really Motivated, 3 Beauty Bound, 4 Bantarki.
Race 2 – 1.45pm: REWARD HOMES PROVINCIAL CLASS 1 (1350m): 1 YANKEE HUSSEL, 2 Takara Star, 3 Headstock, 4 My Artie.
Race 3 – 2.25pm: LIFEFUL CLASS 1 & MAIDEN (2100m): 1 DOMINGO, 2 Piccadilly Lass, 3 Owari, 4 Balinor.
Race 4 – 3.05pm: PETER MAC’S SERVICE CENTRE MIDWAY MAIDEN (1600m): 1 MEET ME IN BONDI, 2 Vegas Outlaw, 3 Riley Park, 4 Meerut.
Race 5 – 3.45pm: THE ARY 2YO MAIDEN (1200m): 1 SECRET KEEPER, 2 Thunderlips, 3 Belyaev, 4 Simplicity.
Race 6 – 4.25pm: NATIONAL AIR PARTS MAIDEN (1350m): 1 VICTORY SALUTE, 2 Just AnUpstart, 3 Theoneandonly, 4 Personal Best.
Race 7 – 5.05pm: POLYTRACK PROVINCIAL-MIDWAY CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER (1350m): 1 MOBSTAR, 2 Oakfield Arrow, 3 Fielding, 4 Conrad.
Race 8 – 5.45pm: TWIN LAKES AIR & SOLAR CONDITIONAL BM68 (1200m): 1 CEASEFIRE, 2 Ningaloo Star, 3 Akaka Falls, 4 Jacquine Reward.