Punters splurge on Kiwis

THE big early money has come for young Kiwi stars Stylish Memphis and Smooth Deal ahead of the heats of the Victoria Oaks and Derby at Ballarat on Saturday night.

The heats of the two classics add huge depth to a Ballarat Cup card already boasting a strong field for the Cups itself, headed by buzz Kiwi pacer Self Assured.

Self Assured drifted from $2.50 to $2.70 earlier in the week after drawing awkwardly inside the back row in the Cup, but has since firmed back to $2.50 and a clear favourite on the Aussie TAB.

The big firmers in the Cup have been Phoenix Prince ($13 into $8.50) from gate nine and Cody Bailey ($15 into $10, gate 10).

Stylish Memphis, who will be driven by Mark Purdon, opens the night when she tackles the first heat of the Victoria Oaks.

Despite drawing wide (gate six), she has firmed from $2.20 into $1.95. Right inside her is Cran Dalgety’s Dr Susan from gate five. She’s also firmed from $5.50 to $4.80.

A likely scenario given the long 2710m is Dr Susan, who is renowned for her early speed, leading and taking a trail on Stylish Memphis.

Stylish Memphis just holds prepost favouritism at $2.70 for the Oaks final from local star Maajida ($2.80), who is $1.35 to win the second Oaks heat at Ballarat.

In an interesting quirk, the All Stars’ Smooth Deal has been crunched from $2.40 into $1.95 to win by far the strongest Derby heat on Saturday night, but he’s not favourite to win the final.

Emma Stewart’s Be Happy Mach is $2.40 to win the final, but $2.50 against Smooth Deal, albeit from a back row draw (gate 10) in the heat. Smooth Deal is $2.80 to win the final.

Purdon will likely keep working forward from a wide draw (gate six) in the heat to either sit outside the leader or push for the front.

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