Quality mare Booker overcame a wide barrier to win the 2019 Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield today.
Booker had to jump from barrier fourteen in the eighteen horse Oakleigh Plate field and after settling in the second half of the field, lightweight jockey Dean Yendall was able to weave a passage through the pack to hit the front 50m from the post to claim a three quarters of a length victory.
Booker was sent out at the good odds of $18 at her first up run since finishing second in the Group 3 $200,000 Furphy Sprint (1100m) down the Flemington straight on Derby Day on the first day of the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Runner up Encryption was also at double figure odds at $19, also running on from the back while the well backed Eduardo ($5) fought on well to claim the third prize after racing on the pace.
Winning co-trainer Matt Ellerton said that Booker had had an uninterrupted Autumn preparation after having some problems during in the Spring and raced accordingly.
“A great result and certainly a deserved winner of a Group 1,” said Ellerton who trains in partnership with Simon Zahra.
“ We had a checked sort of Spring with her. She had a minor throat problem early in the Spring and its been plain sailing this prep and she has come up trumps today.”
“She is a quality mare and hopefully this is her time to shine.”
“You can forgive her Spring campaign and then she ran well on Derby Day and had a nice break.”
“A great ride from the gate.”
Speed machine Nature Strip ($2.30 favourite) set the pace as expected but found wanting half way down the straight and faded to finish tenth.
Today’s Oakleigh Plate win has seen Booker’s price for the Group 1 $1.25m Seppelt Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in two weeks time tumble in from $67 to $16 at Ladbrokes.com.au