The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Group 1 $1.5 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) could be on the cards for the magnificent Marabi next race with the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained mare making it seven-from-seven with a dominant victory in the 2022 Oakleigh Plate results.
An undefeated daughter of I Am Invincible, five-year-old Marabi went to another level in her elite level debut at Caulfield on Blue Dimond Stakes Day defeating a quality field in the 140th edition of the Group 1 $750,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Backing-up from a dominant display at The Valley in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m), the star in the making handled the drop back to 1100m and rewarded jockey Ben Allen for his weight sacrifice in the Oakleigh.
Allen worked hard to get down to 54kg to stick with Marabi and he rode her to perfection to celebrate his first Group 1 victory as a jockey.
“Say it one more time please. It’s unreal. I can’t explain it,” Allen said to the media post-win.
“I pretty much cut out all food I enjoy eating.
“Just fruit and vegetables for the past month, training twice a day.
“I haven’t been riding much so I could train properly.
“Big thanks to Greg (Perry, owner), Dave (Eustace), Ciaron (Maher) for keeping me on.”
Absorbing the early pressure, Allen didn’t get caught up in the early speed battle, popping off the fence and sitting patiently on the outside of the leader Malkovich who ensured there was plenty of pace in the race.
Once on the straight, Allen asked for the supreme effort and Marabi responded inside the final furlong, quickening off a frenetic pace to prove her class and potential star status looking ahead.
“I could see Away Game coming and I thought if there was one horse to beat us it would be the stablemate but she’s tough and the race didn’t really pan out as I would have liked it to,” Allen said.
“I probably went a little bit early on her but she’s a mare that can sustain that gallop and I thought I’d use that to my advantage.
“Doing the form, I knew it would pan out like that. It’s an Oakleigh Plate and that’s just what you get.
“She’s got the class and the quality to overcome that.”
The well-backed $2.60 favourite hit the lead at the 200m and looked like she was going to run away for a big victory, but the margin was worn down by her ultra-consistent stablemate Away Game ($7.50) who produced a huge finish to flash into yet another minor placing.
Behind the Maher/Eustace Oakleigh Plate quinella in third was the Peter Moody-trained Oxley Road ($13) finishing two lengths off the unbeaten winner.
Marabi recorded a searing time of 1 minute 2.23 seconds and could next head to Flemington on March 12 for a shot at the 2022 Newmarket Handicap down the straight.
“Marabi, God, fantastic,” co-trainer Maher told Racing.com.
“Ben Allen had to get down and get the weight off and for him to be rewarded with a Group 1, just super.
“Fantastic. I suppose the pressure builds every start now. It’s a good problem to have.
“We’ll just let the dust settle. This was the target.”
2022 Oakleigh Plate Results & Finishing Order
|1||5||MARABI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||2||54kg||$2.60F|
|2||7||AWAY GAME||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Linda Meech||0.5L||5||52kg||$7.50|
|3||6||OXLEY ROAD||Peter G Moody||Blaike McDougall||2L||9||52.5kg||$13|
|4||8||MALKOVICH||Bjorn Baker||Craig Newitt||2.75L||4||52kg||$26|
|5||4||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Jamie Kah||3.5L||10||54kg||$11|
|5||10||POLAND||Michael Moroney||Michael Poy||3.5L||8||52kg||$41|
|7||13||GENERAL BEAU||Mathew Ellerton||Matthew Cartwright (a)||3.6L||7||50kg||$41|
|8||12||INGRATIATING||James Cummings||Craig Williams||3.9L||11||50kg||$21|
|9||1||WILD RULER||Peter & Paul Snowden||Mark Zahra||4L||6||58kg||$10|
|10||9||MINHAAJ||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||4.2L||1||52kg||$6|
|11||11||STREETCAR STRANGER||David Jolly||Paul Gatt||4.4L||13||52kg||$81|
|12||2||ZOUTORI||Mathew Ellerton||Damian Lane||4.6L||12||58kg||$41|
|13||3||JONKER||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||5.35L||3||57.5kg||$21|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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