Victory for Larry Eastman in the Queensland Oaks this weekend will be shared. The Victorian based harness racing trainer has been a regular visitor to the Queensland winter carnival for many seasons now, so much so, he considers himself a quasi-banana bender.
And the talented horseman has a dual pronged attack heading into the Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Oaks this Saturday night at Albion Park with emerging fillies Fullness Of Time and Milly Perez.
Both fillies boast excellent recent form and drawn nicely in gates two and four respectively.
“This is the main race that we’ve been looking at with these two fillies and I couldn’t be happier with both of them going into the race. Their form is very solid and both landed good draws while Nike Franco, the filly to beat, has drawn the second-line.
Fullness Of Time has thrived during her sunshine state campaign and could easily be unbeaten with a little more after finishing a most unlucky fifth last week in the Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final behind fellow Oaks contender Freedom Is.
The Art Major filly got held-up badly after drawing the inside of the second-line and finished the race with two flat tyres in a time of 1;55.9.
Her two previous victories were both very commanding, albeit in weaker company.
Stablemate Milly Perez has enjoyed strong success this season winning six of her eight starts to date and was considered as the number one seed for the stable but Fullness Of Time has closed the gap quickly.
Milly Perez finished an eye-catching fifth in the recent Gold Coast Oaks behind Nike Franco after drawing poorly and has since been placed in a trial behind star mare Forever Gold in a time of 1;53.7.
“Milly Perez is a nice filly and we’ve always had plenty of time for her so the Oaks campaign has always been on her agenda. I was hopeful of getting another after the Gold Coast Oaks run but the race we looked at was deleted but the trial was very good earlier this week.
“I would say out of all the horses I brought north, Fullness Of Time has thrived better than most and she deserves her shot in the race. This filly was most unlucky last week and her two previous victories were very pleasing, it’s a big step-up but she’ll race well.
“Nike Franco is a very classy filly and looked very good winning again last week so she deserves favouritism but I’m more than happy with my fillies.”
Eastman is based with his good friend Gary Vernon and has entrusted him with the drive behind Fullness Of Time while champion Victorian reinsman Chris Alford will come north again to partner Milly Perez.
Alford took the drive behind Milly Perez in the recent Gold Coast Oaks.
“Chris is keen to come north and drive Milly and that’s great, he will give her every chance and so will Gary aboard Fullness Of Time.
“Like many in this game, opportunities go a long way and I’m more than happy to have Gary driving this filly, I’ve known Gary and Sue (wife) for a long time and he’s a good driver but just starved of opportunities.
“Lynette and I love coming to Queensland and we have some very good friends up here so a victory will certainly be shared between the two states. Let’s just hope we get the luck.”
by Chris Barsby
Queensland Harness Racing