Jockey Brad Rawiller is giving his mount Flamberge a great chance to score back to back wins in the Group 1 $500,000 The Resimax Group Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Former trainer Peter Moody prepared Flamberge to win the Oakleigh Plate last year and Rawiller, who has ridden the seven year old at his last three starts, said his last start fourth to Terravista in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington last Saturday gave him a good feeling.
“If he performs to that standard again on Saturday he’s going to take some beating. He’s drawn gate six, which is a great barrier. It just comes down to how he backs up,” Rawiller told AAP.
Flamberge was transferred to co-trainers Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra after winning his farewell for Moody with victory in the Group 1 $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley following his Oakleigh Plate win but finished well down the track in the both the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.
The Exceed and And Excel gelding then found himself under the care of trainer Darren Weir but is yet to run a place for the premiership winning trainer from four starts.
Rawiller said that Flamberge took a little time to settle into his new surroundings in Weir’s huge operation at both Ballarat and Warrnambool, but feels he is just starting to perform like his old self.
“Last preparation, we just never had him mentally right since he had been at Darren’s,” Rawiller said.
“You just don’t know until you see it, but that first-up run with 62-1/2 kilos was unbelievable, I thought.
“It just said ‘this is the Flamberge of old’. And then he showed that again on the weekend in the Lightning.”
Flamberge kicked off his 2017 Autumn Carnival campaign with a first up fourth with 62.5kg in the Listed $120,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 28 and then held his own in a blanket finish when fourth, only a quarter of length behind Terravista in the Black Caviar Lightning.
Damian Lane rode Flamberge to victory in last year’s Oakleigh Plate with 58kg on his back and despite him winning another Group 1 since will carry the same weight this year for Rawiller.
Ladbrokes.com.au have Flamberge as a $12 chance to win back to back Oakleigh Plate while the three year old Extreme Choice is the ruling favourite at $3.80 to knock off the older sprinters.