Talented filly Shamal Wind has been set for the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22 after her fast-finishing victory in the Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) on Saturday.
Shamal Wind was eased to the back of the field by jockey Ryan Maloney, after jumping from the outside barrier, and worked into her way into the race nicely before unleashing with a strong closing burst in the final stages of the race.
The in-form General Truce looked as though he had the race won when he kicked clear with 100 metres left to run, but was caught by Shamal Wind on the line.
Trainer Robert Smerdon admitted that he doubted whether Shamal Wind could win from the outside gate and was quick to pay credit to the ride of Maloney after the race.
“I thought she might be stone last and if she was she would have a big job in front of her,” Smerdon said.
“If she was finding the line and finishing on the back of them, I would have been happy given we were heading to the Oakleigh Plate in three weeks’ time.
“Courtesy of a tactically good ride on behalf of Ryan she was able to come up with the major end of the prize.”
Shamal Wind was well-backed heading into the 2012 edition of the Oakleigh Plate during the Melbourne Festival Of Racing, but tired badly in the final stages of the race and finished a distant 12th behind Mrs Onassis.
The Dubawi mare returned to her best form with a third place finish in the Group 2 Morphettville Classic (1200m) and performed well in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) before failing to fire in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic (1200m).
Shamal Wind returned to the races during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival with a win in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1100m) and was twice narrowly denied a maiden win at Group level during her preparation; finishing second behind Spirit Of Boom in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) on October 19 and second behind Dystopia in the Group 3 Mumm Stakes (1100m) at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day.
Smerdon is chasing his first win in the Oakleigh Plate; with his best previous result the third place finish of Jugulator behind Singing The Blues in the 1998 edition of the race.