Group 1 trainer Chris Calthorpe secures John Allen for Queensland Oaks contender Media Award

Group 1 trainer Chris Calthorpe has booked John Allen to ride Australasian Oaks winner Media Award in the $600,000 Queensland Oaks on Saturday.

Allen was supposed to return to locked down Melbourne on Sunday, having piloted dual Group 1 winner Explosive Jack to third in the Queensland Derby, but for the 11th hour call from Calthorpe.

Luke Nolen, who rode Media Award to victory in Adelaide, was unavailable grieving the loss of his mother and unlikely to be granted entry to Queensland under Covid protocols and border restrictions.

Allen will ride Media Award in her final piece of work on Tuesday.

Despite being the only Group 1 winner in the 2200m feature at Eagle Farm, Media Award is rated an $8 chance with TAB.

Edward Cummings-trained Duais is the $4.50 favourite, from Bargain ($6), prepared by Mark Newnham and the Chris Waller pair of Charms Star and Grace And Harmony (both $6).

Waller holds six of the 17 entries.

Speaking from Brisbane, Calthorpe, who “got out of Dodge” (Melbourne) last Tuesday when “I thought it was going to hit the fan”, is excited about Media Award’s chances in what looks an even race on Saturday.

“Chris Waller has got five or six in it and Edward Cummings’ horse goes pretty good, at the end of the day they’re all three-year-old fillies (stepping up to 2200m) … there’s no Winx in it,” Calthorpe said.

“She’s only the Group 1 winner in the race, that’s a feather in the cap, obviously Waller is going to be hard to beat, as he always is, and he’s got numbers.

“We're not shirking the issue, or shying away from the past, we’re really happy with where she’s at.”

Media Award swamped her rivals in the Australasian Oaks as a $61 outsider.

Media Award wins the Australasian Oaks at $55 and Chris Calthorpe gets his first Group 1 win. 😍@RacingSA @RacingInsider pic.twitter.com/VzaMQT7ByK

The rise in distance to 2200m looks ideal for the progressive Shamus Award filly, who went from a Kyneton maiden and benchmark 64 win at Geelong to Group 1 success in eight weeks.

“I don't feel the limelight is on her and everyone expects her to go out there and just win,” Calthorpe said.

“It might be me and the fact I’m training it, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty happy with the horse I’m saddling up in that race.

“She deserves a spot in that race (and) she’s already proved she’s up to this level … I know most people might think it was a bit of a fluke (winning Australasian Oaks).

“The plan was to get to the Australasian Oaks, we got there and she got the job done, I've got a lot of faith in her and I think she’s going to be very competitive in Queensland.

“She'll hold her own … I’m not feeling any pressure whatsoever … it’d be fantastic to have two but at the end of the day she’s a Group 1 winner, she got the job done.”

Originally published as“There’s no Winx in it”: Trainer eyes back-to-back Oaks wins

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