Flamberge has returned to racing in the best way possible at Caulfield this afternoon; producing an impressive sprint in the final straight to win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) in a photo finish from Fell Swoop.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Damien Lane led the gelding forward and took an ideal position just off the pace of early leaders Kuro and Heatherly, who ensured plenty of tempo would be injected into the Oakleigh Plate from the outset.
Rounding onto the final straight on the rails, the son of Exceed And Excel kicked forward and pulled clear of his rivals; bobbing his head at the right time to beat an impressive Fell Swoop; Heatherly holding on for third in a photo from Pittsburgh Flyer.
Lane partnered Flamberge for the first time competitively in the 2016 Oakleigh Plate and was pleased to be in the saddle for the veteran sprinter’s second Group 1 triumph.
“He’s a super little horse, never runs a bad race,” Lane said.
“Barrier 15 with 58kgs, all the odds were against him but he’s done a super job.
“I had a beautiful run and I thought the tempo was right for where I was and when we straightened up he gave me a good kick.
“It’s super to get a Group 1 for Peter Moody but also for David (Moodie, owner) because he’s a great supporter of mine and I’m just thrilled to repay him with a win like this.”
Peter Moody was pleased with the class displayed by Flamberge in winning the 2016 Oakleigh Plate and was quick to lay the praise on the horse’s impressive ability under handicap conditions.
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Moody said.
“After a dirty day it was a blessing, he’s a courageous horse and a very good handicapper.
“We always try to have him ready for these handicaps because he’s not a weight-for-age horse and at handicap level he always runs unbelievably well.
“The worse the draw the better he runs, he always just applies himself.
“He’s run very well in this race from similar draws in the last two years. Today he got the job done, he might be just maturing as a rising seven-year-old.
“I think he’s won ten now and over a million in prize money, so you’d love a stable full.”
Moody revealed the next point of call for Flamberge is yet to be settled on, but another tilt in Group 1 company is likely.
“I’ll have a chat with Dave but the Newmarket, or The Galaxy in Sydney might be more suitable because he’s run at Rosehill 1100m and he can get a bit of give in the ground up there,” he said.
Flamberge posted a maiden win at the highest level in the 2015 edition of the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville, and has extended his record to ten wins and nine minors through 32 starts with this afternoon’s success.