Form student, RIC CHAPMAN, details the hopes of every runner in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate on Saturday, with horse racing tips for the first four. Read on to see how he maps and assesses the race. Good luck, punters!
1. SHOALS scratched
She has been withdrawn
T: Lloyd Kennewell / J: Joe Bowditch (57kg)
Brilliant sprinting mare on her day. Can give them a start and finish like a rocket when she is on song. Is particularly powerful while fresh and resumes here. An overseas campaign awaits if she can explode down the centre of track and win this. Big show.
T: Chris Waller / J: Damien Lane (56.5kg)
Well, here is his big test. We know he is lightning in a jar early and just kicks away as they turn. Today he will have a great deal of company to the bend and the pressure will be massive. Has won 5 of past 6 starts and has a new trainer now. Is he the real deal? We find out here. Is 2nd up here and was beaten 2nd up last campaign.
T: Matthew Dale / J: Hugh Bowman (55.5kg)
Looks back to racing in career best form with a stakes win recently then a pair of great efforts in this grade. Awkward draw but he will go hard and he will keep Nature Strip honest. If he can cross him, he will take catching. Respect.
T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace / J: Linda Meech (54kg)
Top class sprinter and what a pity he has drawn so poorly. No doubt drops out and leaves his run to late. Drew the fence first up when parked just behind hot pace and finished too well beating Gr 1 performers Written By and Encryption last start. That form nearly wins this. Weaving his way through runners is the big issue.
T: Garry Frazer / J: Michael Walker (53.5kg)
Here’s the horse they all need to fear. She is dynamite when fresh and resumes here. Drawn well enough for her racing style. She should be in back half of the field, say 16th to the bend. And with what is likely to be unreal speed early, they will start to fade and she will unleash. Looks particularly well in at the weights. Really keen on her in this at big odds.
T: Dan McCarthy / J: Stephen Baster (52.5kg)
This is another surprise horse. The draw favours him a great deal. He will ping and drive into about 4th spot along the rails saving ground. Is improving with every start and is weighted to be right in this finish. Was 4th to Bons Away last start when resuming.
T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace / J: Damien Thornton (52.5kg)
Watch market with this bloke. This is his 2nd Australian campaign and as such may very well have acclimatized brilliantly. When last in work he was placed twice at stakes level. Form in the past hasn’t been great first up but all that could change following his spell….and recent change of stable. Respect.
T: Matt Ellerton & Simon Zahra / J: Dean Yendall (52kg)
Very fast mare this trip and has a good first up record. Poorly drawn but tends to ping and charge. Mind you, last start, before spell, was slowly away and so had to sit near rear before flashing home late for 2nd at Gr 3 level. Draw is a worry this level.
T: Sarah Zschoke / J: Brian Park (52kg)
Rising potential superstar sprinter but is first up here and look at his gate. Horrid – keep in mind this is just his 6th start in a race too. Saying that he is very, very smart. Won a recent trial by 8 lengths with his head on his chest. If he has come on from his stunning opening campaign, he’s a big player.
T: Team Hayes & Dabernig / J: Jye McNeil (52kg)
Good, strong mare with terrific first-up form and is resuming here. But…does get back and has not shown up in this grade at this journey. Likes it a little longer. Should get smothered up from this gate too.
T: Toby Edmonds / J: Beau Mertens (52kg)
Very fast sprinting mare on her day and has won this course and trip leading all the way. Probably won’t find the front in this and that will be her undoing.
T: Team Hayes & Dabernig/ J: Corey Parish (52kg)
More than handy but likes it longer. Placed at Gr 3 level here when resuming after showing speed and that’s not good enough for this.
T: John McArdle / J: Chris Parnham (52kg)
Good mare who will not be unhinged by this horrible draw. She drops back anyway. Should be near last to the bend but with no weight on her back she can get wide and charge home. Has placed at Gr 1 level and is a bit of a dark horse in this.
T: Mike & Matt Pitman / J: Dean Holland (52kg)
Top class Kiwi sprinter but that doesn’t hold a great deal of water when they ship to race here. He was placed in exceptionally fast time at Gr 1 level in NZ last start. Horror draw will find him out at this level here.
T: Will Clarken/ J: Jamie Kah (52kg)
Has a pretty average record when fresh and resumes here. Will find this too short and the grade too strong.
T: James Cummings / J: Craig Williams (50kg)
Outstanding type, wonderfully well bred, winner of $526,000 already and is set to make an impact at the top level of sprinting in a year or so. Was impressive when 3rd to Bons Away when resuming last start. Lightweight and reasonable draw make him a place hope.
T: Chris Waller / J: Michael Dee (50kg)
Very talented young sprinter on the rise but looks out of his depth here. The rails draw provides some hope though. He has good gate speed so should kick up and hold a spot in the top 5 to the bend without covering ground so at big odds he might sneak a place. But is a season away from being a star.
T: Henry Dwyer / J: TBC (52kg)
Fast mare who has won at Gr 3 level here this trip – but that was 2 years ago and can’t win from this barrier.
T: Jason Warren/ J: TBC (52kg)
Extra smart in weaker grade. Tends to be slowly away and settles in back half of the field which may be tough from this good draw. Will need luck securing a run in straight and the grade will test him anyway.
T: John Sadler / J: TBC (52kg)
Is an emerging talent but may not get a run. Is trained here and will be last to the bend but does have a strong finishing kick. May find it 100m too short though.
T: John Pascoe / J: Fred Kersley (52kg)
Not likely to get a run and if he does is not likely to bother these at the end. Will early though as he has pace.