Adelaide sprinter Eclair Choice will strip a much fitter conveyance when he lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Leading Morphettville trainer Phillip Stokes expects Eclair Choice to take a great deal of benefit from his first up run when sixth to the flying Heatherly in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13
Eclair Choice had to carry the top weight of 58.5kg in the Rubiton Stakes and after trying to keep in touch with Heatherly, faded slightly in the straight under the big weight to be beaten seven length, with the winner putting a five and half lengths gap behind herself and the runner up Politeness.
Initially Stokes was slightly disappointed with the run, but on reflection knew that the Eclir Choice went into the race under done and would benefit greatly from the run.
“He was a bit disappointing the other day,” Stokes said.
“He did all the chasing with a big weight. He was big in condition and needed the run.”
“The same last prep, he took about three runs to come right and when he did he won two Group 2s.”
“I knew he had a lot of improvement to come.”
“His work’s been much better since then and I’m really happy with him.”
Stokes is giving Eclair Choice his chance to win a Group 1 trophy in the Oakleigh Plate after the California Dane four year old performed creditable during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he collected a Group 2 winning double.
Eclair Choice dead heated for first with the Robert Smerdon trained Lumosty in the Group 2 $200,000 Dilmah Single Origin Teas Caulfield Sprint (1000m) at Caulfield and then came out to claim victory on his own when he beat Hot Snitzel in the Group 2 $300,000 tabcomau Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Derby Day.
A wide barrier in the capacity eighteen horse Oakleigh Plate field is a slight set back to Eclair Choice’s chance and regular Dom Tourneur will be looking to get some early cover behind the leading bunch from gate twelve if all the emergencies fail to gain a start.
The top two in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, Keen Array at $4.60 and Heatherly at $5, have both drawn well at four and two respectively and both are certain to take full advantage of the good gates.
Eclair Choice has been installed as one of the outsiders of the field at $34.
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.