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Australian Racing - Racing: Waller eyes up fourth Oaks success

Chris Waller trained Preferment to complete the Victoria-Queensland Derby double and the champion trainer will try and land the Queensland Oaks with her daughter, Smirk.

Smirk earned her place in the $700,000 contest with a close third in the Group 2 ANZ Bloodstock News Roses last Saturday, an effort which saw her priced up as a 20/1 chance for the Eagle Farm Group 1.

Duckworth has belief in Smirk

The filly is raced by the same owners as Preferment and Waller's racing manager Charlie Duckworth believes she has been something of a quiet achiever.

"She has flown under the radar a little bit, but I guess Preferment did to a degree when he won the Queensland Derby," Duckworth said. "She is a pretty unassuming filly. Last Saturday was a gutsy performance and the step up in distance shouldn't worry her."

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Waller will be looking for his fourth win in the Queensland Oaks having won it with Winx, Egg Tart and Youngstar, while the man on board, Tommy Berry, will be hunting his maiden victory in an Oaks.

"The Derbys have been really good. I have won a Derby here in Sydney, a Queensland Derby, a Derby in Hong Kong," Berry said. "But I have never had a good staying filly.

Berry eager to break Oaks duck

"Not only have I not won an Oaks, I have been riding for 16 years and in all of the Oaks races - in Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland - I reckon I would have been lucky to ride in ten Oaks (in total)."

Berry hopes to end his blackout when he links with the Smirk, but admits the draw in barrier 16 could have been kinder.

"It would have been nice to draw a gate to help her stay the trip and I guess the distance is still a bit of a query, but she has got a bit of quality on her side," Berry added.

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