Lindsay Park co-trainer David Hayes is expecting three year old Keen Array’s good Spring form to carry over into the Autumn when he lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Keen Array worked his way up through the classes during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with wins in a 1200m three year old Plate at Moonee Valley and in the Listed $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
The Bel Esprit gelding then ran the race of his life when one and a half lengths second to Japonsime in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
The Chris Waller trained Japonisme has made the form look good with a first up third, beaten a head and a head, behind Chautauqua and Terravista in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington last Saturday.
“His form from the Spring has worked out brilliantly,” Hayes said.
“He has got the gun barrier to get a good run. He has got no weight.”
“Pretty confident he will be right in the finish.”
Keen Array has plenty of positive factors after being weighted on the minimum 50kg and has drawn barrier four in the capacity eighteen horse Oakleigh Plate field.
Lightweight jockey Stephen Baster, who replaces Damian Lane, will be able to give Keen Array the run of the race just behind the pace before looking to gain a split in the straight to challenge for the front.
The Oakleigh Plate has been a good race for the three year olds with thirteen of that age group winning since Placid Ark’s victory in 1987.
The latest three year old to win the Oakleigh Plate was the Leon Corstens trained Starbangledbanner who took out the Melbourne Racing Club’s feature sprint in 2010.
Keen Array has had plenty of support at Ladbrokes.com.au in Oakleigh Plate early betting and currently heads the market order at $4.60, fractionally ahead of the Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra’s speedy filly Heatherly at $5.
Hayes, who trained in partnership with Tom Dabernig, will also saddle up Group 1 performer Fast ‘N’ Rocking and five year old mare Gregers and is giving them excellent chances as well.
Fast ‘N’ Rocking, who was third in last year’s Oakleigh Plate, is listed as a $15 chance and will be having his first run back since finishing third to Buffering in the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot during the 2015 Perth Spring-Summer Carnival.
“Narrowly beaten last year in the same race,” Hayes said.
“Seems in as good or probably better form. Expect him to run well.”
While Gregers is marked at $21 for her first run back after finishing second in the Listed $150,000 MSS Security Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“Her trials have been great. She looks a million dollars,” Hayes said.
“Nearly won this race as three year old. She is a big strong mare now, so expecting a good first up run.”
Oakleigh Plate market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Keen Array, $5 Heatherly, $6 Bounding, $12 Secret Agenda, Fell Swoop, $15 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, The Quarterback, $16 Headwater, $21 Gregers, Atmospherical, $26 Lord Of The Sky, Pittsburgh Flyer, Vezalay, Reldas $31 Griante, Flamberge, $34 Dothraki, Smokin’ Joey, Kuro, Eclair Choice $101 Swinging Arms.