Knoydart attracts plenty of attention for Oakleigh Plate

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 21st, 2014

Rejuvenated sprinter Knoydart continues to attract plenty of attention from punters for the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Knoydart has come in for plenty attention for the Oakleigh Plate.

Knoydart has come in for plenty attention for the Oakleigh Plate. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

Knoydart has been undefeated at his three runs since being gelded and trainer Peter Snowden had no hesitation in stepping the four year old straight up to Group 1 company after scoring a runaway win in the Listed $120,000 IVECO Melbourne Truck Centre Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington on February 12.

Punters have latched onto the confidence shown by Snowden with Knoydart firming in a point from $6 to $5 while the early favourite Lankan Rupee has eased slightly to $3.40 following the support for the Snowden runner.

“He’s is rare form. He’s come back as a gelding, it has certainly changed the horse completely,” Snowden told RSN.

“His first win at Canterbury was a good effort, his second win at Listed grade was excellent and his third win in the Hareeba was super.”

“So he is certainly on an upward spiral. He’s drawn a good gate and will get a good run in the race, a race that there will probably be a lot of speed, he does react off a fast run race.”

“He gets his chance there. About three months ago you would have never thought about an Oakleigh Plate but on his form at the moment you have to consider him as being a good chance.”

Snowden has no concern about the drop back to 1100m and expects Knoydart to get a good run midfield in a fast run race and finish it strongly.

‘The quicker they go the better. He just reacts better when there is pace on, he relaxes better. He should get a good run midfield and he’ll be strong late no doubt,” Snowden said

The Oakleigh Plate is always run at a cracker of a pace and this year will be no exception with plenty of on pace runners in the field including Lankan Rupee who led all of the way to record a three and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $175,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago.

Snowden will also be saddling up Kuroshio and could find a lot of positives for the three year old who is having his first start since finishing ninth to Bernabeu in three year old company over 1000m at Flemington on November 5.

Kuroshio led all of the way to win the weight for age Group 2 $175,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 14 and Snowden said that if he ran up to that effort he would figure in the finish.

The Exceed And Excel colt has a win to his credit over the course and distance of the Oakleigh Plate and Snowden was happy with his trial when third to rivals Bel Sprinter and Flamberge in an 800m Cranbourne trial on February 11.

“He trialled nicely. He’s a great fresh horse, he loves Caulfield. 51kgs is a featherweight on him. He reacted off that weight at weight for age before at Moonee Valley, he ran a great time in winning,”

“He’s in a similar vein of form at the moment now. He’s had one trial, he is sharp, he’s work has been solid. Fifteen gate probably looks a bit awkward but he’s got brilliant gate speed.”

“It would be no surprise to see him get across the field pretty quickly, he will definitely be in the first two or three and he’s got that ability to relax and they’ll know he is there for a long while.”

With Snowden’s number one stable rider Kerrin McEvoy on the sideline because of injury, Sydney based Kiwi jockey James McDonald will be aboard Knoydart while lightweight jockey Dean Holland will be in charge of Kuroshio.

As well as Lankan Rupee and Knoydart having excellent Caulfield form, third favourite Shamal Wind ($8) has two wins and a second at the track including a win over the Oakleigh Plate course.

The Robert Smerdon trained Shamal Wind will also appreciate the anticipated hot pace after coming from well back in the field for a last start win in the Listed $120,000 Robert Taranto W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 1.

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