Having drawn barrier two for Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m), trainer Robert Smerdon is confident classy sprinter Shamal Wind will not be effected at all when gates open for the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Having echoed the words of renowned jockey Roy Higgins several years ago, Smerdon said the low barrier draw will in fact work in favour of the Dubawi mare.
“Higgins said to me ‘After you go past barrier one it just gets progressively worse from there on’, so having barrier two in an Oakleigh Plate or a maiden at Geelong is very much to your advantage” Smerdon told The Age.
“What barrier two means is that clearly we can look at being more handy or positive in the early stages and then again if we want to get back and run home again we can do that.”
Having performed well since re-emerging on track in 2014, early frontrunners in betting markets for the Oakleigh Plate Iconic and Flamberge have drifted noticeably since drawing wide barriers; something Smerdon agrees is a disadvantage.
“In contrast, when you draw barrier 16 or 17 you are committed to either trying to rush over from the wide draw and run the risk of using up a lot of energy, or going back in the field and hoping that every little thing goes your way so you can be successful” he added.
Shamal Wind opened her 2014 account in near-perfect form, producing a strong last-ditch sprint to claim the Listed W.J Adams Stakes (1000m) ahead of General Truce and Brilliant Bisc at Caulfield two weeks ago.
Mick Price-trained gelding Lankan Rupee currently sits as clear favourite for the 2014 Oakleigh Plate at a quote of $3.20 ahead of 2014 Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) champion Knoydart ($6) and Shamal Wind ($9); the only three runners currently offered at a price less-than $10.
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