Skip to content

Oakleigh Plate preview – Sepoy to overcome hurdles, but plenty of value around

February 25, 2012

The 2012 Oakleigh Plate looks to be one of the stronger editions of the race in recent times.

This year, there are many chances and not many can be discounted.

Just Horse Racing’s Andrew Hawkins has done the form and he has come up with the following guide to each of the runners:

1. SEPOY (11)

High class three year old who has won 10 from 11, including a Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond Stakes, Coolmore Stud Stakes and a Manikato Stakes. He has to carry heaps of weight here, which is a tough ask for a three year old, but he has only been beaten once. He seems to be better around a bend too, so should appreciate being back at Caulfield. He’ll be right there at the finish.

2. EAGLE FALLS (12)

Last year’s Oakleigh Plate winner who flies second up. He was very good first up, and seems to go well at this track and distance. The only concern is, he never seems to be able to put two together these days. Still, he is in the mix.

3. GRAND NIRVANA (10)

Consistent WA galloper who should appreciate a big field – in recent times, all his best performances have been in big fields with pace on. Goes well first up but even better second up. Can run well here, and a win would not shock, but expect a big run from him next start.

4. WOORIM (8)

I reckon this horse has the biggest turn of foot in Australia. This will be short of his best, but the pace will be on so he could get home over the top of them. Probably doesn’t want it too much drier though. Good chance if he is anywhere near ready.

5. FIRST COMMAND (2)

He’s a consistent sprinter who is just below Group 1 grade in my opinion. He’s genuine, but Group 1 company seems to find him out. I expect that to be the same today. Given that this is a strong Oakleigh Plate, I can’t have him. Could run a place, but I’d be surprised if he won.

6. BEL SPRINTER (5)

A very promising sprinter who has made his way through the grades quite quickly. Was ultra impressive here in the autumn before a good second to Lone Rock, then he returned in dominant fashion. This is his acid test, but most punters think he’ll pass with flying colours. He’s been the best backed throughout betting and it is hard to see him not measuring up. Will go close.

7. FACILE TIGRE (16)

Queensland sprinter who improved sharply in the spring. This culminated in a win on Melbourne Cup Day. Still, it is hard to see him winning this, even at his best. The wide barrier only makes it tougher. Not for mine.

8. YOSEI (1)

A dual Group 1 winner who manages to bob up at the most inconvenient times. Has not won below 1400m since her two year old days, and she raced well and truly below her best last spring. Would want to see some form from her before backing her. Even still, it is better to wait until she gets over further.

9. MASTER OF DESIGN (4)

Very well bred galloper (bought for an exorbitant amount as a yearling) who has had many issues throughout his career. Seems to be passed them now under the care of David Payne and showed amazing potential last campaign. Will be flying home late and could be one to spring an upset.

10. WINTER KING (6)

Speedball who excels over this trip. Goes well second up and will appreciate weight drop. Only query is his poor strike rate – he is more the bridesmaid and hardly ever the bride. It is unfortunate, considering the fact he’s come the closest in the last 18 months to Black Caviar than any other horse. He also almost beat Rain Affair last winter. Chance.

11. CURTANA (9)

She probably hasn’t reached the heights expected of her during the spring of 2010, but she didn’t finish too far behind class sprinters last preparation. She is well treated at the weights, especially when compared to Sepoy, and she has the Peter Moody influence. Place preferred though.

12. PANIPIQUE

13. SATIN SHOES (3)

I think it is clear now that she is a sprinter. She is yet to be beaten at the distance, at the track and distance and she flies first up. I will admit, I have a soft spot for her, but I still think she will escape with one of these races someday. Could be a smokey.

14. STIRLING GROVE (13)

Adelaide sprinter who is simply not up to the best here. He deserves to be a big price. Could run a nice fifth or sixth at best. But as a betting proposition? No way for me.

15. DIPLOMATIC FORCE (15)

Once upon a time, he looked a very nice sprinter in the making. That was a very long time ago. It has been a long while since he’s raced at his best. Good luck if you back him – he won’t be carrying any of mine. No.

16. ELITE FALLS (17)

Very good three year old filly who raced below her best in the spring after a good autumn which culminated in a third in the Golden Slipper. At her best, she would be a good chance and she has trialled well into this. At the weights she looks an appealing option. But the barrier makes it hard so I reckon she’s probably a place chance.

17. AFRICAN PULSE (7)

Lightly raced three year old who has won three from four. He is very promising, he has plenty of scope and has a similar profile to King Pulse, who ran 4th in a very strong Newmarket as a 3yo. Probably best to see how Hot Spin goes earlier in the day too. Chance.

18. JOHANNAPINE (14)

This mare created a big impression on debut but she hasn’t quite lived up to that promise. She was good winning here three weeks ago. It is a big step up in grade and the barrier makes it hard, especially considering it is such a quantum leap. But I do think she’s talented. Maybe a place?

SUMMARY

What an outstanding edition of the Oakleigh Plate. Anyone who doesn’t think this is a top class race has rocks in their head. It’s fantastic. As a result, I’m going to give my top five, instead of my top four. The only horse they’ve wanted to back is Bel Sprinter, which surprises me. I think if SEPOY is anywhere near right, he wins. I think the market is very cautious about him unnecessarily. The weight is a concern but if he is as good as touted, he wins. Good enough for me, he’s getting out to a very nice price for such a class horse! MASTER OF DESIGN stepped up to a new level last spring, and if he’s improved I think you might see a very good run from him. Same with WOORIM – it will be too short for him but these two should be rattling home at the end. BEL SPRINTER has shown incredible promise, but I still think he needs a bit more time. He can win but should he be favourite ahead of Sepoy? Not in my eyes. SATIN SHOES is a favourite of mine and I really do hope to see her in the finish. Next best are Winter King, Eagle Falls and African Pulse – and they MUST be thrown into the exotics.

NUMBERS

1 – SEPOY
9 – MASTER OF DESIGN
4 – WOORIM
6 – BEL SPRINTER
13 – SATIN SHOES

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: