Socks causes shock in Oaks for Ciaron Maher and Ryan Maloney

Hayden KingThe West Australian
Trainer Ciaron Maher.
Camera IconTrainer Ciaron Maher. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Despised outsider Socks Nation became one of the longest priced Group 1 winners in history by capturing Saturday’s $700,000 Seven Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm.

Socks Nation, who was sent out a $91 roughie by TABtouch, showed sprightly dash from gate nine to sit second behind Oceans Of Energy ($201) and the field strung out by at least 17 lengths.

After sitting nearly two lengths from Oceans Of Energy throughout, Socks Nation quickly steamed past with 350m remaining and Our Gold Hope ($17) emerged as a major threat.

With 100m remaining, Our Gold Hope moved up and briefly poked her nose in front.

However, with a horse upsides, Socks Nation responded to jockey Ryan Maloney’s vigour and rallied tenaciously to score by a neck.

Ciaron Maher, who has been having a lucrative run in Group 1 events, praised the constitution of his winning filly.

“She’s been in work 13 months, this filly, and she just keeps on running really well,” Maher said.

“I didn’t tie Ryan down too much with instructions - he’s pretty casual at the best of times - and I was surprised she was that far forward in the run, but it worked out perfectly.

“She’s a tough, Kiwi-bred filly and they do it time and time again in these races.

“She goes to a lot of locations - she’s been to the beach and sometimes a change is as good as a holiday.”

The unusually named filly was given her title for pre-trainer Adrian Corboy’s mispronunciation of Sioux Nation, who is Sock’s Nation’s sire, when breaking her in.

The win was jockey Ryan Maloney’s fourth at Group 1 level, with Maloney crediting the win to the three-year-old’s staying prowess.

“The race couldn’t have panned out any better for me - I was surprised nobody came to put any pressure on us,” Maloney said.

“I was confident at the 600m mark - when I pressed the button, we put a bit of a margin on them.

“I didn’t want them to outsprint me, so I went a bit earlier than I usually would’ve done.

“When Craig came up to me, I thought we might be passed, but she was so tough.

“I knew she’d stay, and you just can’t rule out any of Ciaron’s horses, even though she was a big price.

“He can do it all and it’s great to win my fourth Group 1, especially for Ciaron as he used to put me on his horses when I’d just come out of my time as an apprentice.”

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