Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Nominations for the 2014 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) have been released, with a current list of 20 hoping to be included in a capacity final field of 18 come final acceptances on Wednesday, including Lankan Rupee.
After an impressive 2013 spring campaign that delivered the wins and a place from only four starts including the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m), Lankan Rupee has returned to the track in incredible form in 2014, following up a near-perfect barrier trial in January with victory the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) from Iconic and First Command on February 8th.
First Command will be aiming to overturn his first-up loss to Lankan Rupee, having also been included in nominations for the 2014 Oakleigh Plate.
The well-worked eight-year-old continued to impress in 2013; his fifth season in racing, most notably claiming the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) in January, before returning to the spelling paddock in February for what would become an eleven month stay.
Undoubtedly winding towards the end of his career, the Commands gelding who has won 12 of 35 starts will need to find a clear path early if he is any chance of defeating a field that includes highly rated sprinters Bel Sprinter, Richie’s Vibe and Spirit Of Boom.
Bel Sprinter stamped his claim as one of the country’s leading short distances runners over the Autumn of 2013, winning the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) first-up before placing in both the Group 1 T.J Smith Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 International Sprint 2013 (1200m) in Singapore.
Expected to carry his brilliant form into a spring campaign, the talented Bel Esprit gelding was disappointing in three tilts at Group 1 success and returned to the spelling paddock in November.
Trainer Jason Warren has written off Bel Sprinter’s inability to perform in the latter parts of 2013 as fatigue, and is confident of recreating his 2013 autumn success after trialling well at Cranbourne last week.
Richie’s Vibe scored a huge win over resounding favourite Moment Of Change in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) on January 24th, but did not respond well to a high weight allocation in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington last week, finishing a less-than-convincing seventh.
Having claimed four wins and two places in 10 starts throughout his maiden year of racing, trainer Tony Vasil has set a similarly busy course for the Danerich gelding in 2014, with a run in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) the next major step following the 2014 Oakleigh Plate.
Queensland-based sprinter Spirit Of Boom placed third behind Mrs Onassis and Facile Tigre in the 2013 edition of the Oakleigh Plate, and will be confident of an improved result on Saturday after a an impressive spring campaign which included a comfortable win in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m).
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2014 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate Nominations
|1||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||110|
|2||BRILLIANT BISC||Peter G Moody||78|
|4||FIRST COMMAND||Anthony Freedman||103|
|5||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||97|
|6||GENERAL TRUCE||Ricky Maund||104|
|8||HAPPY GALAXY||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||100|
|13||LANKAN RUPEE||Mick Price||106|
|14||MAGNUS REIGN||Rick Hore-Lacy||82|
|15||MINAJ (NZ)||Anthony Freedman||82|
|16||RICHIE’S VIBE||Tony Vasil||102|
|17||SHAMAL WIND||Robert Smerdon||103|
|18||SPIRIT OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||107|
|19||THERMAL CURRENT||Peter G Moody||86|
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