Five-times champion trainer Mark Wallis feels his team set to contest this year’s ECC Timber Oaks is the best he has ever assembled together.
In all his years of training, the Category One competition is one of the few to elude the Lakenheath handler.
However, the 50-year-old believes that could all be about to change in this year’s running of the 460-metre event, which starts at Belle Vue on Saturday.
“This will be a big thing for me if we win the Oaks as it is a race I have never won,” said Wallis. “Over the last three or four years I have never really had anything seriously good enough to win it, but this year we don’t just have one chance, but three or four good ones.”
Heading up the list set to make the trip up to Manchester is Evanta Evita, winner of this year’s Ladbrokes Summer Cup 480 Final at Monmore.
“Evanta Evita has recently come back from season and injury but she has impressed in her trials,” said Wallis. “Although her first proper run back will be the first round, she has got a realistic chance of winning.”
Evanta Evita will be joined in the competition by Cashen Maureen, who has recently switched to Wallis’ kennel from Ted Soppitt.
Others in contention for a shot at the event, worth £15,000 to the winner, include Aero Babooshka, Aayamzaone and Evanta Fantasy.
“Cashen Maureen has got a terrific record on the track and has been touted as the leading bitch in the country,” said Wallis. “She is a serious bitch — my only reservation is that 460m might be a bit sharp for her, but she is high class.
Twenty-four hours before action gets under way at Kirmanshulme Lane, Wallis be sending a strong raiding party down to Romford for the opening round of the Category One Coral Essex Vase.
With defending champion Reel Trickyone recently retired due to injury, Wallis will turn to the likes of Adageo Bob, Blackstone Marco, Vanfrenchie and new recruit Jimmy Nailed On as he bids to win the 575m event for a second year running.
“Adageo Bob has been a high performing dog throughout the summer and has done well since returning from a small injury,” said Wallis. “If he repeats his run in last year’s final he is the one to beat.
“However, the likes of Vanfrenchie or Blackstone Marco should be competitive and they could easily have a say if they step on what they have done.”
Wallis sent out Snappers Lad in the final of the Betfred Eclipse at Nottingham on Tuesday.
The son of Blonde Snapper finished third.