John O’Shea’s smart young filly Earthquake has opened top of the Oakleigh Plate 2015 odds to win her first-up assignment at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday in Melbourne.
One of 18 hopefuls in the field for this weekend’s $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), the Godolphin-owned daughter of Exceed And Excel returns to racing in the elite level on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Exactly 12 months ago three-year-old Earthquake, then prepared by Peter Snowden under the Darley banner, won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Now she’s after her second elite level title at the same Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival meeting, jockey Chad Schofield to ride her from barrier 11.
Earthquake was last seen running eighth to Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day on the back of a Group 3 win at Caulfield over the same distance.
She has a top record when resuming with two wins and a third from three first-up starts, and she is undefeated at Caulfield with a three-from-three record to add to this Saturday.
Barrier 11 also looks a non-issue with Mrs Onassis (2013) winning from the gate just two years ago.
The bookmakers then are taking no chances and have Earthquake at the top of Oakleigh Plate betting with Ladbrokes.com.au paying $5 for her to retain her perfect record at the track.
There are just three other single figure hopes then with:
- #6 Vain Queen ($6) – John Sadler-trained Artie Schiller mare drawn one inside the favourite with barrier 10. Also resumes here and has won two of her three previous first-up runs. Distance is her pet with three wins from five 1100m starts previously. Last seen winning over the 1100m at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Group 3 GH Mumm Stakes. Group 1 is a class test but is a nice sort on 54kg and can be in the finish.
- #10 Atmospherical ($8.50) – Craig Williams rides this nicely-drawn Northern Meteor mare from the Sydney stables of David Pfieffer. The four-year-old has won four from five over the distance and finished third in the other 1100m start she’s had so far. Just the one run at Caulfield last start first-up when third to Chautauqua in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes over this track and distance, which could prove the form line to follow.
- #2 Flamberge ($9.50) – Rubiton Stakes runner-up for Melbourne’s Peter Moody, this Exceed And Excel gelding was beaten a head first-up but there are some queries going into the Oakleigh Plate. He’s got a gun 1100m record (8-3-2-1) and at the track & distance (5-2-1-1) but is drawn wide in barrier 17 of 18. Also not 100% guaranteed to run with Moody discovering mucus on the horse’s throat with the call of whether or not to run to be made on Friday.
Other notable hopes at longer odds with genuine claims then include Robert Smerdon’s consistent Dubawi mare Shamal Wind ($10) coming off a first-up win at Sandown from Australia Day, the Tony McEvoy-trained Adelaide raider Iconic ($13) with the inside barrier and the only three-year-old male in the field Nostradamus ($13) to be ridden by apprentice Patrick Moloney for the hoop’s second Group 1 assignment.
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