Leading jockey Brendon McCoull is looking to make a winning start to a big week when he rides hot favourite Chequerboard in the $150,000 Tasmanian Oaks at Mowbray on Sunday.
Chequerboard, trained by Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes, is one of six Victorian fillies in a nine-horse field and heads the tab.com.au market at $2.15.
McCoull will be chasing his third Oaks in the past seven years - after wins on Iggimacool and Still A Star - and hopes it will be a springboard to further success on Launceston Cup day.
He will ride imported stayer Captain Cook in the Launceston Cup and will also have an important assignment on Still A Star in the $150,000 Vamos Stakes.
Chequerboard was runner-up to local star Hela in the Strutt Stakes at Elwick 11 days ago when ridden by Victorian jockey Daniel Stackhouse.
On Monday, McCoull was tentatively booked for the Oaks ride in case Stackhouse couldn't return and on Wednesday morning stable foreman Gary Fennessy rang to confirm he had the mount.
"It's a good ride - she certainly looks the one to beat," the jockey said.
"She was well beaten in the Strutt Stakes but the winner is exceptional and she beat the others comfortably (by four lengths).
"She had nice form in town in Victoria prior to that and even though some of the others may be suited by the distance, their form doesn't look as strong on paper.
"I'd say $2.15 is around the mark."
Local jockeys have also picked up the rides on interstate runners Mystique Falcon (David Pires), My Squeeze Louise (Bulent Muhcu) and Queen Adele (Kyle Maskiell).
My Squeeze Louise is raced and trained by AFL great Denis Pagan who won the VRC Derby in October with Johnny Get Angry.
The Mongolian Khan filly has been his only runner since then and her four starts include a last-start maiden win over 1875m at Kyneton.
OAKS MARKET: 2.15 Chequerboard; 4.60 Mystique Falcon; 8.00 My Squeeze Louise, Swelter Magic; 11.00 Queen Adele, Russian By; 15.00 Northern Spirit; 26.00 Indigo Girls, Kay Oh Ell.
Hobart Cup winner Double You Tee is a short-priced favourite to pick up the $100,000 cups double bonus at Mowbray.
The Patrick Payne-trained stayer has opened at $2.80 in the TAB's all-in market on the $250,000 Launceston Cup on Wednesday.
Hobart Cup third placegetter Barade shares the second line of betting at $4.50 with Gai Waterhouse's last-start Flemington winner Runaway.
Others in the market are Hobart Cup runner-up Classic Weiwei, last year's Hobart Cup winner Toorak Affair and rising star Supalopo.
There are only 13 entries but nominations have been extended until 10 am Thursday.
ALL-IN MARKET: 2.80 Double You Tee; 4.50 Barade, Runaway; 8.00 Classic Weiwei; 11.00 Supalopo, Toorak Affair; 15.00 Glass Warrior; 26.00 Captain Cook, Queen La Diva; 51.00 Exoteric, White Hawk; 101.00 Generalmaintenance, Sh'bourne Renegade
The 15 entries for the Vamos Stakes include Bow Mistress winner Ethical Solution.
However all interest will be on the performance of All-Star Mile aspirant Still A Star who won a trial at Longford on Tuesday as she prepared for her long-awaited return.
Her comeback was to have been in the Bow Mistress 11 days ago but she was withdrawn due to a respiratory infection.
Brendon McCoull conceded that was a niggling worry.
"Even though she is fully recovered and right to go, you would have liked her to have had that run," the jockey said.
"I'm hoping she can still run really well in the Vamos to justify going to Melbourne.
"Even though it's worth a lot money just to go around in the All-Star Mile, I'm sure everyone would want her to be competitive."
Mystic Journey is an interesting entry for next Wednesday's $100,000 Mowbray Stakes.
Trainer Adam Trinder had named the Blamey Stakes at Flemington three days later as her likely next target.
And, that may still be the case, with Trinder just covering his bases due to travel uncertainties.
The Blamey is over the same course that Mystic Journey won the Australian Guineas and All-Star Mile in 2019.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.