Maher filly knocks their Socks off in G1 Queensland Oaks

Ciaron Maher and Ryan Maloney have combined to orchestrate a major upset in the Queensland Oaks, winning it with one of the rank outsiders of the Group One field.

Starting at $101, Socks Nation stalked the speed before hitting the front at the top of the straight then raising another effort to beat off the bid of eventual runner-up Our Gold Hope.

In an incredible training performance, the filly has been in work since making her debut in August last year, Maher crediting the odd trip to the beach and interstate excursion for keeping her happy.

“The team has done a super job. She has been in work for thirteen months this filly and she just keeps running really well,” Maher said.

“She has been to a lot of locations. She gets to the beach and sometimes a change is as good as a holiday.

“She is a tough filly, she is Kiwi-bred and they do it time and time again here.”

While Maher has his main training base in Victoria and Maloney is domiciled in Queensland, the pair go back a long way.

That relationship made Socks Nation’s Queensland Oaks (2200m) victory all the sweeter for Maloney, who brought up his fourth major on the filly.

“It’s great to win my fourth Group One, especially for him (Maher),” Maloney said.

“He used to put me on when I had just come out of my time and he had twenty horses at Warrnambool so it’s very fitting.”

Despite Socks Nation being unwanted in betting, Maloney said he went into the race positive, having learned to never underestimate a Maher-trained horse.

Knowing the three-year-old was hard-fit and would stay, he used those attributes to advantage when he got her moving into the race on the home turn.

“She was 100-1 but you just can’t rule any of Ciaron’s horses out,” Maloney said.

“Whether it be a 1200-metre sprint race, two-year-olds, jumpers, stayers, he can do it all.

“When I pushed the button, I had in the back of my head that she was fit and I obviously had got a bit of a margin on them and I didn’t want to be letting them come to me because I thought if they did, they’d outsprint me, so I got going that little bit early.

“Once Craig (Williams on Our Gold Hope) came to me, I thought I was all out, but she is very tenacious and she just lifted and was too good.”

In a result for betting companies, Socks Nation ($101) scored by a long neck over Our Gold Hope ($16), who would have been a first Group 1 winner for her trainers Robert and Luke Price.

Miss Jolene ($19) was third another two lengths away with Mare Of Mt Buller ($5) doing best of the fancied runners to finish fifth.

Scarlet Oak started a $4.80 favourite but didn’t raise the hopes of her supporters and was eased down late by jockey James Mcdonald, who felt she had come to the end of her campaign.

“She’s done a marvellous job and is a very good filly, but it was probably just a bridge too far today,” McDonald said.

Socks Nation was the biggest-priced Queensland Oaks winner since Miss Keepsake ($31) in 2010.

About RS NewsWire

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