Shamal Wind led a Robert Smerdon-trained quinella in the Oakleigh Plate 2015 at Caulfield Racecourse this Blue Diamond Stakes Day, the smart mare defeating stablemate Under The Louvre in the Group 1.
A bumper field of 16 lined up in this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and on the line Smerdon had the best two in the race thanks to late runs from his two double-figure hopes.
“Unbelievable,” he said after the result.
“A really good outcome.”
Leading the field around was the Gary Portelli-trained I’m All The Talk who was brilliant out of the gates to take up the lead and set a hot pace in the handicap clash.
By the home turn I’m All The Talk had two lengths on the field, still leading 200m form home.
There were plenty making their runs over the closing stages including Atmospherical on the inside along with Smerdon’s Excellent Art stallion Under The Louvre ($17).
Smerdon’s eyes were on the four-year-old entire who he thought looked the winner getting the cheap sectionals up near the rails in his first run since a second in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at the track last October.
“I settled on Under The Louvre,” he explained.
“I thought he was in a good spot.
“I thought he was nearly going to win it.”
However he missed the run of Dubawi five-year-old Shamal Wind ($10) who came from nowhere, flying down the outside to get in front just 25 metres from the line and beat her stablemate, flashing home on the rail, with a brave Fast ‘n’ Rocking ($21) overcoming barrier 16 to run third.
“I’ve got to watch the replay to see where Shamal Wind came from,” Smerdon said.
“She emerged late, I need to see the replay to appreciate it.”
It was the hot speed that suited the Dwayne Dunn-ridden Oakleigh Plate winner, Shamal Wind posting back-to-back victories this time in after taking out the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) with the same hoop in the saddle at Sandown-Hillside on January 26.
Smerdon thought she’d had her shot at Group 1 racing and was done at that level, but went into the Oakleigh Plate under the instruction of Bloodstock agent James Harron.
“I thought the Group 1, she’d had her opportunities and had fallen short,” he said.
“But full credit to James Harron.”
The key was keeping Shamal Wind fresh, the mare boasting five first-up wins from six attempts, so they treated this like a resuming run giving her very little work between her black type win at Sandown and the Group 1 test.
“James said to keep her fresh, to do the same, try and make it a first-up scenario so we did,” Smerdon said.
“Credit to him for his commitment to the cause.
“He got the outcome, got a great outcome.”
Smerdon ruled out a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 down the straight.
“No, not at all,” he said when asked if it was a target for Shamal Wind.
“Today’s race around the corner was always going to be the best scenario.”
Instead there’s a chance he’ll take the Oakleigh Plate winner to Sydney for the sprints there including the lucrative $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships, Saturday April 4.
“We might go to Sydney for some of the sprints there but a great day (today) for both horses,” Smerdon said.
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2015 Oakleigh Plate Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 7 – 28/02/2015
|1||5||SHAMAL WIND||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||–||14||54kg||$10|
|2||14||UNDER THE LOUVRE||Robert Smerdon||Daniel Moor||0.75L||11||52.5kg||$17|
|3||4||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||0.85L||15||54kg||$18|
|4||6||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||Damian Lane||1.6L||9||54kg||$6.50|
|5||10||ATMOSPHERICAL||David Pfieffer||Craig Williams||1.7L||4||52.5kg||$8.50|
|6||12||I’M ALL THE TALK||Gary Portelli||Ms Winona Costin (a)||2.7L||7||52.5kg||$21|
|7||3||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||4.2L||5||55kg||$31|
|8||18||NOSTRADAMUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Patrick Moloney (a)||4.4L||13||50.5kg||$14|
|9||1||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Ben Melham||5.4L||16||58kg||$16|
|10||16||EARTHQUAKE||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||6.15L||10||50.5kg||$5F|
|11||7||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Stephen Baster||7.15L||6||53kg||$8|
|12||13||ICONIC||Tony McEvoy||Chris Parnham (a)||7.35L||1||52.5kg||$13|
|13||15||WHITTINGTON||John P Thompson||Dean Yendall||8.35L||2||52.5kg||$71|
|14||8||SISTINE DEMON||Andrew Noblet||Ms Michelle Payne||8.65L||8||53kg||$71|
|15||9||A TIME FOR JULIA||Peter G Moody||Glen Boss||8.75L||3||52.5kg||$9.50|
|16||11||GENERAL JACKSON||Pat Carey||Regan Bayliss (a)||9.25L||12||52.5kg||$151|
|–||2||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||–||0||–||–|
|–||17||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||–||–||0||–||–|