15 years ago, trainer Charlie Lister and owner Mark Bates missed a chance to land the English Oaks with one of the great bitches of the modern era. On Saturday, Sonic Spur has the chance to deliver one of the few trophies that eluded the great Farloe Verdict.
Doncaster Leger finalist Sonic Spur clocked the fastest of the three semi finals over the Swindon 476 metre course. Her 28.10 (-20) run was half a length quicker than her previous outing and she drew orange for the final.
She is joined by Kim Billingham’s Kerry born youngsters, Ballymac Saga and Ballymac Cloud who prevailed on an afternoon where all three favourites were eliminated after poor trapping.
None broke slower than Queen Beyonce while her kennelmate Queen Franklin was the absolute opposite with a fine display of early pace to win the second qualifier.
Chris Akers, who was head man to Lister all those years ago, remembers the disappointment of missing out with a bitch who had already won English and Scottish Derbys and a Blue Riband. In fact, in the month prior to the 2004 English Oaks, she had won the National Oaks at Nottingham and the Coventry Oaks.
Akers said: “We thought Verdict was a penalty kick to win it, but a few days before it started, I went to bring her in from the paddock and she had shelled a nail. So she never had the chance to take part.”
In fact, after Sonic Spur had reached the final of Doncaster’s 661 metre feature event, there was a split decision as to whether to run her at Swindon.
Akers said: “It was a close call between the Oaks and the Essex Vase but she seems to run Swindon so well. She isn’t the fastest from the boxes but has good early pace. She can also come from behind. She shows a lot of sense and waits for the gaps to appear.
“It has been quite a tough competition, but she sees out the trip well enough and it shouldn’t have taken to much out of her. I am quite happy with the draw.”