The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace’s undefeated mare Marabi is the well-supported favourite to keep the wins coming as she steps up notably in grade for the 2022 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on Saturday.
The short-distance feature of Neds Blue Diamond Stakes Day, the Group 1 $750,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) has drawn a quality field of 13 sprinters led by progressive I Am Invincible five-year-old Marabi.
Lightly-raced having had just the six starts to date, she has risen to the occasion every time coming into her acid test with a flawless record after taking out the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last time out.
Spacing her runs has proven key to getting this mare to step-up to each challenge and she again gets four weeks between winning that Group 2 by nearly three-lengths as the odds-on fancy and her Group 1 debut on Saturday.
Ben Allen retains the ride in the Oakleigh Plate field with Marabi drawn well in barrier two and paying a short $2.70 through Ladbrokes.com.au to salute for the punters again.
Despite the size of the field, just two other runners are currently under double-figures in Oakleigh Plate betting to end the magic run of Marabi with Wild Ruler ($8) for Team Snowden and the rails-drawn Minhaaj ($8.50) for John O’Shea.
Four-year-old Snitzel entire Wild Ruler resumes in the event and has outstanding form when fresh with a trio of wins and two seconds from five previous first-up runs.
A genuine short course horse, he is two from three over the 1100m which looks ideal for him here facing a number of gallopers more suited to the six furlongs.
Last time in he won the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley before things went amiss when last in Sydney’s $15 million The Everest, which he is out to atone for here.
His two lead-up trial wins at Rosehill and Warwick Farm have been excellent and suggest he is ready to return to his best and get his autumn underway in style from barrier six with Mark Zahra aboard.
Kerrin McEvoy partners the other danger in the markets with four-year-old Exceed And Excel mare Minhaaj also first-up.
After moving from the Dabernig & Hayes operation to O’Shea ahead of the spring, she was very good winning back-to-back races in October including the Group 3 Begonia Belle (1100m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
Whether she’s of Group 1 class is the query with her only other elite level performance being a Golden Slipper flop with dead last (16th) behind Farnan back in 2020.
Another mare being kept relatively safe at $10 is a stablemate to the favourite, the fellow Maher & Eustace-trained Away Game in gate five for Ms Linda Meech.
A four-year-old daughter of Snitzel, Away Game is the fit mare in the mix racing third-up and was last seen finishing third to Isotope at the Gold Coast in mid-January’s $1 million Magic Millions Sprint (1200m).
She’s a perennial placegetter however so looks a far better shot to run in the first four than to challenge Marabi for the win.
The early Oakleigh Plate market mover is Oxley Road ($16 into $11) being saddled-up from gate nine for trainer Peter Moody.
Another in-form four-year-old, he has a good Caulfield strike-rate (4:2-1-1) including his win in last October’s Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) and was last seen resuming with a good second to Marine One at the track in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 12.
2022 Oakleigh Plate Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x1619x210x||WILD RULER||Peter & Paul Snowden||Mark Zahra||6||58kg||112|
|2||7140x4240x||ZOUTORI||Mathew Ellerton||Damian Lane||12||58kg||112|
|3||1x3x2x761x||JONKER||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||3||57.5kg||111|
|4||6x3121323x||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Jamie Kah||10||54kg||108|
|5||111×111||MARABI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||2||54kg||108|
|6||114x2316x2||OXLEY ROAD||Peter G Moody||Blaike McDougall||9||52.5kg||101|
|7||x312286x23||AWAY GAME||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Linda Meech||5||52kg||103|
|8||2112x222x5||MALKOVICH||Bjorn Baker||Craig Newitt||4||52kg||99|
|9||39x164x11x||MINHAAJ||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||1||52kg||104|
|10||10x153x80x||POLAND||Michael Moroney||Michael Poy||8||52kg||90|
|11||44110x52x1||STREETCAR STRANGER||David Jolly||Paul Gatt||13||52kg||92|
|12||53x12938x5||INGRATIATING||James Cummings||Craig Williams||11||50kg||100|
|13||115x25125x||GENERAL BEAU||Mathew Ellerton||Matthew Cartwright (a)||7||50kg||89|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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