Capacity Oakleigh Plate Field Released

By: Thomas Hackett
February 25th, 2015

A capacity 2015 Oakleigh Plate field of are 18 sprinters are set to contest the Group 1 event at Caulfield on Saturday.

Bel Sprinter has the chance to record a second win at Group 1 level in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate. Photo by: Steve Hart

Bel Sprinter has the chance to record a second win at Group 1 level in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate. Photo by: Steve Hart

Bel Sprinter is set to contest the Oakleigh Plate for the third time in his racing career to date and he will carry the top weight of 58 kilograms this weekend.

The Bel Esprit gelding returned to winning form during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival when he took out the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) on October 18, but he is yet to taste further success at the highest level of racing since his dominant win in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).

Bel Sprinter will jump from the outside gate in the Oakleigh Plate, but that may not prove to be a bad gate for the enigmatic sprinter, who has made a habit of standing in the gates at the start of his race starts.

One of the most interesting runners in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate field is Godolphin filly Earthquake, who will be making her open racing debut this weekend.

Earthquake won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at this meeting 12 months ago and was the star two-year-old of her generation, but was unable to replicate that form as a three-year-old during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.

Trainer John O’Shea is hopeful that he has Earthquake back to her best form ahead of the Oakleigh Plate and the daughter of Exceed And Excel has been most impressive in two recent barrier trials.

Peter Moody-trained Flamberge pushed Chautauqua all the way in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he will have the chance to record a maiden win at the highest level of racing in the Oakleigh Plate.

He will be joined in the 2015 Oakleigh Plate field by stablemate A Time For Julia and Moody believes that the talented mare may be his best chance in the Group 1 event this weekend.

Another trainer that is set to have multiple runners in the Oakleigh Plate is Robert Smerdon, who has included both Shamal Wind and Under The Louvre in the nominations.

Shamal Wind has failed to fire in her four previous starts at Group 1 level and has finished no better than seventh in her two previous attempts in the Oakleigh Plate, while Under The Louvre will be making his debut at Group 1 level after he recorded a maiden black type win in the Listed Tavern Stakes (1400m) during his spring preparation.

David Hayes has not recorded a Group 1 victory since Eagle Falls took out the 2011 edition of the Oakleigh Plate, but Fast ‘N’ Rocking gives him an excellent chance to end his Group 1 drought.

Fast ‘N’ Rocking failed to deliver on his obvious talent as a colt and he was gelding at the end of his autumn campaign last year, which proved to be a wise decision by connections.

The Fastnet Rock gelding recorded three wins from his five starts in the spring, included a strong victory in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on November 15, and he was not disgraced when he returned to racing with a third place finish behind It Is Written in the Listed Abell Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on February 6.

It Is Written has also been included in the Oakleigh Plate and he will be returning to racing at the highest level for the first time since he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last year.

John Sadler-trained Vain Queen (barrier ten), the talented Sistine Demon (barrier nine), Rubiton Stakes placegetter Atmospherical (barrier four), Pat Carey-trained General Jackson (barrier 11), the speedy I’m All The Talk (barrier eight), first-up specialist Iconic (barrier one), injury-plagued Whittington (barrier two), tough filly Eloping (barrier six) and talented colt Nostradamus (barrier 14) round out the Oakleigh Plate field.

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