One of Melbourne’s biggest sprint races will run at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday during an action-packed day of horse racing.
The Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) has been won by the likes of Fastnet Rock, Snitzel, and most recently Lankan Rupee. This year 18 classy sprinters will line-up for their chance at winning the $400,000 race, including Tony McEvoy’s Iconic.
Iconic is a three-quarter brother to champion race horse Black Caviar. The four-year-old gelding has yet to make the same mark in high-class races but is a “genuine chance” in this weekend’s Oakleigh Plate according to McEvoy.
The gelding’s only black-type victory came at the beginning of last spring when he won the Listed Carlyon Cup (1000m). He looked to be going away at the finish but just fell in a short half-head in front of Angels Beach.
Iconic has been kept fresh for the 2015 Oakleigh Plate considering he’s won three of his four runs resuming from a spell. He impressed in an 800m trial at Morphettville on February 10, impressing his trainer with a two and a half length winning margin, but the gelding will still need to produce his personal best to win on Saturday.
“His trial was really good and drawn barrier one with 52-1/2 kilos on his back, with average luck he should be closer to the pointy end than not,” McEvoy told Sky Racing.
Iconic has drawn the inside jump from barrier one and will carry just 52.5kg with Chris Parnham to ride. It’s worth noting that last year’s Oakleigh Plate winner Lankan Rupee also jumped from the inside gate. This is a much better draw for the gelding than when he contested the race last year. Iconic was stuck in the outside gate (18) and dropped back after jumping. He still had plenty to do rounding the turn and never made ground, finishing end of the field.
The gelding went head-to-head with the highest-rated sprinter in the world twice last year, in both the Oakleigh Plate and Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), in which he was just one and a half lengths off of Lankan Rupee.
He was near the rear early before getting held up in the straight. The gelding had plenty to give and once in the clear made good ground. McEvoy for one was heartened by the performance, believing he could have won if not for the interference.
“We thought he was stiff not to win that race. There’s probably a few other stories like that in the race too, but he was one of them,” the trainer said.
Iconic has seen his share of support in the Oakleigh Plate betting, with the gelding’s odds shortening from $15 to $12 at Ladbrokes.com.au. The race remains fairly open with the favourite Earthquake paying $5.50.
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