The Quokka Preview 2024

The Quokka Preview 2024 thumbnail

Western Australia’s richest race brings a star-studded field for its second edition.


 Overpass. Picture: Western Racepix.

The Quokka has been, in its short life, a resounding success. A thrilling finish in its first year has only been amplified with an enthralling rematch this year.

Overpass returns having denied the fast-finishing Amelia’s Jewel last year, and has since ventured back to Perth to win the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes.

Not sighted since, he’s back for three feature races at Ascot in as many attempts and the chance to take his Western winnings to just shy of $5 million with back-to-back victories.

Racing & Sports has him running the same rating in both his Perth wins at 119. He has run slightly better on occasion and into the low 120s with narrow second placings to Giga Kick and Private Eye, but it’s fair to assume he’s a good chance of running up to his 119 again.

That looks a pretty solid benchmark in this, and he looks to get a very similar run to what he did in the Winterbottom, just sitting outside or half-carting behind stablemate Malkovich.

Amelia’s Jewel won the Roma Cup in preparation last year but was beaten this time around. That said, she was only two pounds off her 113 rating she ran last year and her sectionals were very good- she just had a better horse to catch this time.

The issue for her is the same again this year. Drawn wide, likely to give top horses a head start over a trip probably still a bit short of her best. That said, she does get Damian Lane over this year, and he’s as good a judge of pace as there is.

That can be a crucial factor, but she faces arguably a stronger field this year and as favourite again, I just can’t get involved.

Bella Nipotina ran third in this race last year and is going as consistently as ever. Last year she was coming off a big 120 rating when second to Imperatriz, this year she’s coming off a second in what was a low-rating Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200m). Three of her four ratings this time in go a long way to winning this however, but a firm deck at Ascot probably won’t see her run to her absolute best.

That said, her runs in the Lightning and Newmarket this time in on good tracks would make her close enough to favourite in this.

The three-year-olds are well represented here with Oscar’s Fortune clearly the pick. He ran second to Overpass in the Winterbottom and has run a new peak of 118 when beating Amelia’s Jewel in the Roma Cup last start.

That probably won’t be quite enough to win but it puts him right in the finish but he can improve from an ideal draw for Pike.

Don’t be surprised to see Ripcord improving. He was okay in the Roma Cup but kicked off there without a trial whereas Oscar’s Fortune was already second up. There isn’t heaps between them and Ripcord might be better suited off a strong 1200m than Oscar’s Fortune trying to match it with Overpass and co again.

King Of Sparta looks the other hope in the race. He’s very consistent and his ratings certainly not out of place here. He ran a strong figure last time to win the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) but his attempts against the A-class (or near enough to it) have generally seen him fall short.

That said, he’s an ideal map horse here for Shinn and if he runs to form he’s probably a first-four lock.

Overpass on top again for me. We’ve been on him at both his Perth wins and I think he’s close to the most likely winner. Amelia’s Jewel is too short and I have to bet around her. I think the best value could be Ripcord who can improve quickly.
The Quokka 2024

Tip: #1 Overpass at 4.60 with TABtouch*

Roughie: #9 Ripcord at $21 with TABtouch*

*Odds correct at 4:30pm, 17/4/24.