Shamal Wind is one of 20 potential Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) sprinters that were nominated for the race on Monday morning.
The five-year-old mare is all but set to take her place at Caulfield this Saturday after trainer Robert Smerdon revealed she is in the best condition of her career.
“I think she is going as good as she ever has in her career,” Smerdon told TVN.
“The 1100 metres at Caulfield really does suit her.”
Smerdon rates Shamal Wind as racing as well as she ever had in her career, which has spanned three years and netted her 15 placings from 23 starts.
Shamal Wind is no stranger to the Oakleigh Plate. The mare finished second last back in 2013 before finishing midfield last year, just four lengths off winner Lankan Rupee. This year’s race is shaping up to be an equally competitive one and the mare will need to draw well in the barriers and have a bit of luck in running to be in with a chance of winning the Group One race.
“She has to get the right run, get into the right spot and produce her late sprint. She has a really devastating turn of foot, but she doesn’t sustain it for too long,” Smerdon said.
“You can’t be coming out early and exposing her. The circumstances in the run will have the biggest bearing on her.’
The mare’s trainer believes she races best when fresh, which is why her first-up run was one month ago. After running third in four of her five spring starts, including the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m), Shamal Wind was spelled for just 11 weeks.
She resumed on January 26 in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) at Sandown, a race she won last year. The mare was on the fence doing no work early and was only four lengths off the leaders when turning. She ranged up at the 125m mark and simply roared on by to win by over two lengths. Shamal Wind successfully defended her title in the race with a much stronger run.
The final field for the 2015 Oakleigh Plate is set to be released later this morning (Wednesday) followed by the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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