The final of three major Group 1 events, the 2014 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate has attracted a capacity field of 18 runners to contest the 1100m course at Caulfield this Saturday.
After claiming the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes first-up over the same distance at Caulfield two weeks ago, talented gelding Lankan Rupee currently heads betting markets for the 2014 Oakleigh Plate at a quote of $3.40 from 2014 Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) winner Knoydart ($5.50), Shamal Wind ($8) and Bel Sprinter ($14).
Can Lankan Rupee make it two from two at Caulfield on Saturday, or will Knoydart justify his current market mover’s tag and cause an upset?
Lankan Rupee ($3.40)
Having claimed three wins from only four starts over the 2013 spring, Lankan Rupee has been in scintillating form since returning to the track in 2014, claiming a strong barrier trial at Cranbourne in January before first-up success in the Rubiton Stakes. Jockey Craig Newitt, who has partnered the Redoute’s Choice gelding in nine of his 12 starts to date revealed this week that Lankan Rupee will line-up on Saturday at “110 percent”, and will be particularly difficult to beat from barrier 8.
Shamal Wind ($8)
Robert Smerdon-trained Shamal Wind closed a consistent 2013 spring second behind Dystopia in the Group 2 G.H Mumm Stakes (1100m) and has returned the track in top form following a three month layover in the spelling paddock. Having drawn barrier 2 for the 2014 Oakleigh Plate, Smerdon said the Dubawi mare will prosper from the inside line and will be tough to beat if in good position rounding the bend.
Bel Sprinter ($14)
Short distance star Bel Sprinter will head into the 2014 Oakleigh Plate first-up after trainer Jason Warren elected to send the Bel Esprit gelding to two Cranbourne barrier trials in late January/early February. Having recorded an excellent 2013 autumn campaign, which included the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) first-up, Bel Sprinter represents excellent value at $14 and will be particularly hard to be with Michael Rodd on board.
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