Oakleigh Plate 2021

This is one of the best handicap Sprint races in the country, probably my favourite to be quite honest, at 1200m or less . But then again I’m not a great fan of the big sprints down the Flemington straight, so probably biased in that respect. I have also had some great results personally in the past 10 years or so, with the likes of Swiss Ace, Woorim and Mrs Onassis winning at massive odds.  I think the most unique thing about this race  is that barriers play very little part in the result. In fact you are probably better off drawing wide than closer to the inside, which is quite unusual for a race at this distance. One year an on pacer will salute, and the next year a backmarker. It’s always a race with enormous depth and it’s share of quality performers. That often makes it very difficult to pinpoint a winner. Below are the last 18 winners and relative statistics (Age, weight carried, barrier and starting price). I’d like to say it helps a lot but in reality Form analysis of runners might be a more useful method to find the winner.

  • 2020 PIPPIE 4M (14) 52kg $12.00
  • 2019 BOOKER 4m 52.0kg (14) $17.00
  • 2018 RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 4G 56.5kg (10) $4.50
  • 2017 SHEIDEL 5M 53kg (3) $8
  • 2016 FLAMBERGE 6G 58kg (15) $31
  • 2015 SHAMAL WIND 5M 54kg (14) $10
  • 2014 LANKAN RUPEE 4G 56kg (7) $4
  • 2013 MRS ONASSIS 5m 52.5kg (11) $16
  • 2012 WOORIM 6g 55.5kg (8) $21
  • 2011 EAGLE FALLS 5g 57kg (9) $21
  • 2010 STARSPANGLEDBANNER 3c 52kg (6)
  • 2009 SWISS ACE 4g 54kg (18) $31 (I got $66!)
  • 2008 WEEKEND HUSSLER 3g 53kg (10) $2.10
  • 2007 UNDUE 5g 57kg (14) $15
  • 2006 SNITZEL 3c 51.5kg (4) $11
  • 2005 FASTNET ROCK 3c 57kg (6)$2
  • 2004 REACTIVE 5m 52kg (1) $16
  • 2003 RIVER DOVE 4m 51.5kg (10) $17

Pertinent facts;

1. 17 of last 18 winners have been first or second up when winning this, and 16 of the past 17 winners have been first up. Not that significant given  most of the runners attempt the race fresh from the Spring .

2. 16/18 aged between 3 & 5 years but no 3yo has won since 2010 which almost starts to mirror the Lightning Stakes.  4/18 winners has been a 3yo and all have been Males. Interestingly the past two three year old winners won the Caulfield Guineas in the Spring over 1600m. Three had won a G1 race prior.

3. Only one horse has carried more than 57kg to win in this period, but 6 have carried 55.5kg-57kg. 10/18 have carried less than 54.5kg to win and 13/18 have carried less than 56.5kg

4. Only 2 winners have drawn inside barrier 4 and one outside 15. Wide draws no real disadvantage overall (11/18 barrier 9 or wider)

5. 8/18  sired by a Son or Grandson of Danehill.

6.  Average winning price is very high @ $14, especially given there has been 2 winners around a $2 quote.

7. Seven of the fairer sex have won in this period (18 years), and four or last eight editions, which is encouraging given they would be outnumbered each year. None have started at less than $8, and all have been mares aged 4 and 5.

8. 11/18 were in the first six horses early (one was a 10 horse field) , and 5 of those led all the way to win.

9. Every winner in this period had raced in Melbourne at some time prior. About 80% had a Caulfield run on their resume.

10. Four of the last Ten winners had run in this race previously  (Shamal Wind twice) and all carried more weight than they had done in their other attempts, ranging from 0.5kg to 3.5kg (Eagle Falls).

Below is the field with Form, likely field position (brackets), Gender, Age, weight and Handicapper Rating and Stats/Form analysis. Barrier draw not yet completed to my knowledge.

1x2400x114xZOUTORI (7) (Back)G5  4-2/7 first up. 0-2/5 barriers 1-3 but 5-3/11 barriers 4-6. Drew barrier 2 when second this race last year and goes up 2kg this year. No Pippie to contend with though.158kg109
28111x3413xDIRTY WORK (1) (Mid)H4 Placed at G1 WFA level last start and carries 1.5kg less here. Yet to win first up but two trials impressive in preparation for this. Specialist at this distance 5-3/11 his only wins.4/8 from barriers 7+. Sire will make it three in a row this race  if he wins.257kg107
3x8x35311x2KEMALPASA (10) (On Pace)G5Poor first up record. Likes 1200m more than 1100m. Has a very good record when travelling away from Morphettville to other left handed tracks (6-2/8)357kg107
4x11133x0x6MIZZY (15) (On Pace)M5All wins Barrier 1-6. Alll wins with Tommy Berry aboard (4-1/6). 1-3/4 this distance.454.5kg106
5611x12122xCELEBRITY QUEEN (3) (Back)M4Career 6-4/12. Distance 2/2. Group 1 placed WFA last start and drops 3kg.3/3 first up and 0-2/4 with 14 days or less between runs. 5-2/7 with more than 14 days between runs. 2/2 barriers 1-3.553.5kg104
6x160x5528xSTANDOUT (15)(Mid/Back)H43/4 this distance. All wins in fields of 10 runners or less. 2/3 first up and all wins with more than 3 weeks between runs. Yet to run around a left handed turn. Meets Dirty Work 3.5kg better for 0.5L defeat the last time they met and just behind Bivouac that day. All wins with more than three weeks between runs.655.5kg104
71114x1111xANCESTRY (4)(Lead)G48-1/11 with this stable. 7/8 since Tongue Tie went on with only defeat on a Heavy 9 track carrying 61.5kg. Has won sitting just off the pace so doesn’t have to lead. 4/4 with Michael Poy aboard.753.5kg100
8x535x1344xBROOKLYN HUSTLE (14)(Back)M4Sire is a former winner of this race. Both wins first up but at M/Valley over 1000m from barriers 1 and 4. Only beaten 1L G1 WFA at 1000m and was running on hard last start G1 WFA 1200m. Meets Dirty Work 3kg better for that meeting. 0-1/3 here could be seen as a negative with her best form clearly at M/Valley. She beat Yes Yes Yes there on debut.852kg100
9825x3352x1PROPHET’S THUMB (13) (Mid)M5Broke a long drought last start racing closer to the pace and 2-3/5 here. Not as  well weighted this time. All wins barriers 1-6. All wins on dry tracks 5-4/16. Has won second up.952kg100
108x466633x2BOLD STAR (12) (Back)G50-3-6/13 in Group class races. 5/12 below 1100m and 5 of his 7 wins in fields of less than 8 runners. 2/3 second up and beaten less than 4L this race last year.1052.5kg98
111541×01PORTLAND SKY (5) (Off Pace)C3Only 1.5L off September Run Flemington last preparation giving her 1kg and drawing the wrong side of the track. Unbeaten when he has been first or second early in a race 3/3. Comfortable win first up and has won second up. Unlucky  only Caulfield defeat when on rails and baulked for a run. Should have finished closer. Tagaloa and Aysar franked his form off last start. Might need galloping room.1150kg95
12212x5462x3GARNER (2) (Mid/Back)G44-8/15 career record.2-1/3 in big fields suggests he needs speed on. 3-3/6 barriers 7+ and no wins from 4 starts barriers 1-4. Gave Diamond Effort 2kg beaten 0.5L and that mare was just over 2L away G1 WFA.1252kg95
13x1120x492xHANSEATIC (18) (Mid)C3Bled last start. Luke Currie 3-1/4 aboard. 3/5 1000m-1100m. 2/2 wide barriers and 2/3 first up. 3-3/6 dry tracks and biggest defeat 1.05L on that surface. . Wide barrier might be advantageous.1350kg92
1423x25318xRANTING (NZ) (9) (Back)C3Cross Over Noseband going on and has a win over Anders and Hanseatic when totally unsuited by speed of race. Missed start last time in Coolmore than was erratic. 4 runs here for 1 win and biggest defeat 1L.1450kg91
15x211x1130xANDERS (17)(Lead)C3Had virus at end of last preparation so ignore last two starts. 4/5 at distance and only defeat was when he got back in the field. Easy win over Mamaragan, Doubtland who both ran well in Coolmore. 3/3 on wet tracks and only 1/7 on dry which was a big margin win admittedly. Only run here farcical pace set whereas he needs to be flying out in front. 1.02.67 this distance and has 6kg less in this,1550kg90
1611233×1127SWORD OF MERCY (6)(Mid/Back)M5Stable has good record in this race with three wins and a second last year (past twenty years). Unlucky runner last start. 4/7 bigger fields but 1/14 in fields with 10 or less runners. All wins first and second up. Took her 11 starts to win her race but 5-4/10 since with unplaced run last start when should have finished closer. Meets Garner and Bold Star much worse at weights though.1652kg90
171118x120x6HOW WOMANTIC (11) (On Pace)M45/6 barriers 1-6 and drew wider when failed first up. 2-1/3 this break between runs,1752kg89
18121×412153RIDING THE WAVE (8) (Back)G586 rater giving weight to horses much higher rated. 1/7 in bigger fields.1852kg86

Summation’

I’ve found this nearly impossible to be honest and I’m not sure I can actually recommend it as a betting race given it’s feasible to say that there are roughly fourteen horses in the race you could give a very realistic chance to. Any of the three year olds can win but I’m risking them as potential winners this year as none really look to have the Group 1 profile as previous winners of this race in the period above. All had raced against older horses in the past but only HANSEATIC this year has done so. He can win but has drawn very wide, and hasn’t won for over a year. The barrier draw takes me away from the likes of DIRTY WORK and GARNER who appear to go better from wider barriers. Not to say that they can’t win of course.

The last of the historical points is interesting because it leads me to the topweight here in ZOUTORI. He just missed winning this last year, is a gun fresh horse, and comes off a better run in the same lead up race as last year (some three lengths better) and has a perfect barrier, unlike last year where he drew an inside barrier that doesn’t have a good historical precedent at all. Having Jamie Kah aboard at present is certainly another bonus). From a strict form analysis point of view I really like PORTLAND SKY as replays suggest he is a lot tougher than I expected him to be and, because of his run against September Run in the Spring. I would have like to see him draw a little wider but there is only Ancestry inside him that can probably beat him to the rail here. The form out of his recent win beating the likes of Tagaloa and Aysar has been franked with Tagaloa beating Aysar last week, and they ran a time that actually had slightly more merit than the Lightning Stakes on the same day. That formline basically puts all of the three year olds into the mix here as they have similar performances against basically the same opposition. HANSEATIC though probably has the most in his favour historically. His form on dry tracks is superb, and the fact he hasn’t drawn near the rails is probably a bonus, though you’d like to have seen him draw better than barrier 18 perhaps.

BROOKLYN HUSTLE looks a great historical fit being a 4yo mare who starts from a wide barrier. She looks beautifully weighted against the likes of DIRTY WORK off their last WFA meeting and is probably the best weighted horse in the race. The Sydney 4yo STANDOUT is similarly well in on his best WFA run against the same horse. The fact that both have question marks at the track has me risking them a little, but either can win this without any surprise.

CELEBRITY QUEEN is similarly a good historical hope beinga 4yo mare. Her WA counterpart Sheidel won this a few years ago from a similar barrier and coming out of the same race. The only difference between the two is age and the fact that CQ hasn’t raced in the Eastern States before. Admittedly I’ve taken a bit of set against her after the disgraceful effort of Elite Street in the Lightning Stakes but perhaps that was just an anomaly and you can make a really good case for this mare drawing a line through Trekking who she beat home comfortably in the Winterbottom in Perth. Had she drawn wider I might have actually had her on top which again suggests how even this race is.

No knock whatsoever with ANCESTRY. He doesn’t really look your typical Oakleigh Plate winner (despite his fantastic form), but he is drawn to get every hope and will get the run of the race and look like the winner at some point. He hasn’t been tested at this level, and that coupled with the price first up are my only real negatives.

He will probably be stalking the 3yo ANDERS in the run, and that Colt could just clear out in the front (and like Pippie last year ) and not be caught. He won a trial very easily recently as have three of the past eight winners of this race when first up. I think you have to just forget his last two runs in the Spring when he wasn’t right, with the Caulfield run surely some 1.5 to 2 seconds shy of the time he could potentially have run on that day. I don’t see his wide barrier as much of an issue given both Pippie and Swiss Ace started from similar draws and led all the way to win.

If you like Zoutori then you also have to give KEMALPASA some hope as there hasn’t been much between them in two meetings. Last time at level weights there was 0.2L between them down the straight and the latter is in receipt of 1kg this time. He will be closer to the pace and his ‘away from home’ record is very significant. He did get thrashed first up but it was by a very good horse in Behemoth who is one of the best in the country. He is well worth consideration on an each way basis here at a massive price, with the 1100m and a dry track the possible negatives.

I could make a case for many other runners but I’ll settle on this first four;

  1. ZOUTORI (if in doubt come back to the topweight?)
  2. Hanseatic (probably the best of the 3yo’s historically)
  3. Portland Sky (really love his tenacity and formlines)
  4. Kemalpasa (the big roughie in the race with a realistic hope).

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