Trainer Robert Smerdon is confident three-year-old filly Shamal Wind has had the perfect preparation to be a genuine contender in the Group 1 2013 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on Saturday.
The lightly-raced youngster is the only three-year-old in the field and will take on the older horses in the top grade in just the fourth start of her career.
She debuted with a dominant five-length win at Ballarat in October before heading to Flemington to win the Listed Heritage Stakes by two lengths.
The daughter of Dubawi resumed at Moonee Valley on February 8 where she produced a fighting victory in what was her only lead-up run to Saturday’s $400,000 handicap sprint.
Smerdon takes great confidence out of the first-up hit-out where she successfully defeated older mares.
“Her first-up win has helped her and I think she should get a better run this week,” Smerdon said.
The youngster has plenty in her favour in the Oakleigh Plate where she carry the minimum weight of 50.5kg and is likely to be able to secure a great spot in running from barrier one with Glen Boss aboard.
Punters certainly haven’t shied away from Shamal Wind and she is second favourite in the bookmaker.com.au market at $6.
The Oakleigh Plate top elect is Barakey ($3.40) who has travelled from Perth to make his east-coast debut this weekend.
The Jim Taylor-trained gelding has proven himself untouchable in the west, producing 11 unbeaten starts.
His most recent win was at Group 1 level where he beat the best in the west and a number of east-coast horses to claim the Winterbottom Stakes in November.
The Oakleigh Plate is one of three Group 1 races at Caulfield this weekend and the best betting on all the action can be found at bookmaker.com.au.
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