Jason Warren’s former The Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter heads a 20-strong list of Oakleigh Plate 2015 nominations for this Saturday’s feature sprint in Melbourne.
After the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, subsequently won by runaway winner Lankan Rupee, featured a final field of only six hopefuls it is looking far more promising for a capacity or near capacity field for this weekend’s $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
The handicap sprint showdown runs at Caulfield Racecourse as one of three Group 1s on the Blue Diamond Stakes Day program and has attracted 20 early entries.
The top-rated of those is 2013 The Galaxy winner over the same distance in Sydney two years ago Bel Sprinter.
Also runner-up in the Krisflyer International Sprint during a Singapore raid that campaign, the now seven-year-old son of Bel Esprit is looking for his first win since the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) on Caulfield Cup Day last October.
His first-up record is excellent with six wins from eight starts and he comes off a credible fourth in a barrier trial behind Lankan Rupee form earlier in the month.
A host of Bel Sprinter’s possible rivals in what is shaping up as a very even race are also first-up here including Godolphin filly Earthquake and the John Sadler-trained mare Vain Queen.
Twelve months ago Exceed And Excel filly Earthquake, now prepared by John O’Shea, took out the Blue Diamond Stakes on this day.
She’s back now looking for another Caulfield Group 1 win, the three-year-old’s latest victory being in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) on October 11.
Her latest start was then on Derby Day at Flemington when eighth, beaten just over six lengths, by the Chris Waller-trained Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
Braze Beau franked that form last Saturday when runner-up to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1100m) at Flemington.
Vain Queen meanwhile is after her fourth win from six starts over the 1100m, the locally-trained Artie Schiller mare last seen winning the Group 3 G.H. Mumm Stakes (1100m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Along with Vain Queen other classy sprinting mares nominated for the Oakleigh Plate this year include Robert Smerdon’s last start Listed W.J. Adams Stakes winner at Sandown Shamal Wind and Group 1 performed A Time For Julia for Peter Moody.
Also in the mix are then Moody’s Exceed And Excel gelding Flamberge and the David Pfieffer-trained Northern Meteor mare Atmospherical who ran second and third respectively by gun Team Hawkes-trained sprinter Chautauqua in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) here on February 14, and three-year-olds Nostradamus for Team Hawkes and Eloping.
The Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison-trained Chosir filly Eloping however is likely to miss the Oakleigh Plate Group 1 test in favour of an easier run against a field of her own age and sex in Friday night’s $150,000 Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the official 2015 Oakleigh Plate final field and barrier draw out on Wednesday.
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2015 Oakleigh Plate Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 28/02/2015
|1||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||101|
|3||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||108|
|5||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||92|
|6||ESSAY RAIDER||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||96|
|7||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||100|
|8||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||103|
|9||GENERAL JACKSON||Pat Carey||81|
|11||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||97|
|12||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||102|
|13||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||98|
|14||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||86|
|15||PERON||Peter G Moody||97|
|16||SHAMAL WIND||Robert Smerdon||104|
|17||SISTINE DEMON||Andrew Noblet||98|
|18||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||97|
|19||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||104|
|20||WHITTINGTON||John P Thompson||93|