2018 Oakleigh Plate Preview

Key Bets analyst Cam O'Brien takes an in-depth look at the always interesting race

racing tips

The Autumn Carnival continues with an enormous day at Caulfield, featuring the running of Victoria’s premier 2yo race for the year – the Blue Diamond – as well as one of the country’s premier sprint races in the always interesting Oakleigh Plate.

Traditionally, this race is (usually!) run at a frantic pace and because it is a massive field anything can happen in the run. Luck obviously plays a part but so does the fact that it is a handicap; weights matter here and people often overlook that. This is not WFA.

The last few winners have been:

Oakleigh Plate

With quite a variance in winner’s rating, and in weight carried.

The map is obviously quite important in a race like this:

Oakleigh Plate

I think there should be plenty of pressure on in front. I think poor old SNITTY KITTY could end up on a limb unfortunately. Those with a trail back are actually in a good spot, with the pace on you can swoop home in an Oakleigh Plate.

My prices:

Oakleigh Plate

I have priced up all runners, to 100%, though there will be at least two scratchings, with 19 and 20 being emergencies.

I won’t be going near the current fave RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, who I have just over 10/1. CATCHY and BOOKER are right on my current price, I think at least one will become an overlay, looking for $12 about them. HELLBENT and ILLUSTRIOUS LAD are both overs, as is SAVANNA ARMOUR, and GLENALL also.

As it stands right now, I’d be having HELLBENT 0.4u, ILLUSTRIOUS LAD 0.4u, SAVANNA AMOUR 0.3u, GLENALL 0.3u. And if CATCHY and/or BOOKER got to $12 I’d have 0.6u on either or both of them. Potentially quite a few bets but smaller amounts in a big field, perfectly happy to do that.

Here is my runner-by-runner breakdown:

#1 Flamberge

The 2016 winner of the race, rating 117 in so doing. Loves the t&d (obviously) but has not gone near the 117 since and is an 8yo now. Best since 113 done twice including LST when he ran well but had his chance and just couldn’t find enough in the end, rating 113.

Perhaps third up he is fitter but I can’t give the full 117. Can race on pace and though I have him joint leading he could easily take the sit from the good draw, as he did when he won it.

#2 Russian Revolution

Still just a 4yo and pretty lightly raced, RR has a best of 114 but that was on best ground on a heavy 10 in March 2017 at Rosehill. His other best is 112, did that at Moonee Valley in September winning the McEwen stakes. Then had a poor one and went out for a spell, has won a 900m trial for this then ran 2nd in a 1000m one.

Does he have more than 112 on the dry? That’s the question! He can lead or joint lead and there will be pressure, he has a base for 116 or 117 at ABSOLUTE max, but I can’t give those marks on blind faith.

#3 Sheidel

Last year’s winner when MOREIRA kidded to the other jockeys in front, but SHEIDEL only went 112 that day, and that’s her equal top. In the Spring she didn’t get back to her 112, best 110, though she’s only a 6yo so shouldn’t be past her just yet.

Loves Caulfield – question mark is that she won’t map like last year in all likelihood with pressure on and wider draw.

#4 Hellbent

Got back first up and worked home solidly, rating 110. His best is 113, done a couple of times, but a couple of years ago he looked like being a 118 horse. When he won same t&d in Sep 2016 rating 113 he looked like Bernborough, got hopelessly out of his ground and flew to win. It was like a 116 or more, but then the pace was hot that day to help.

Since then he hasn’t managed to go beyond the 113, and as always he’ll be well back. A race like the Oakleigh Plate should suit – genuine pace helps him. One day he may do that 118, but his fans are no doubt getting tired of waiting!

#5 Illustrious Lad

Enigmatic horse. Back in Spring 2016 he was flying, hit 116 then 118 winning G2 then placing G3 in good races. Next prep though he raced un-generously and didn’t get beyond 112. Last Spring he only had three runs and managed a best only of 109. Bad direction his marks are trending! At his top, 118 is huge of course, but 109 gives him no hope!

What does he do here? Tough to know. The pace on will help him though and Darmanin knows him well, drawn to get an OK run off pace, is first up from a spell now so really tough to mark with confidence.

#6 Fuhryk

4yo whose best is only 108 to date but has improved every prep and looks like he has more coming, projecting him at a 112 to 113. Loves Caulfield and the 1100m and the pace on will help. Might need luck from midfield or worse but is promising and we haven’t seen his top.

#7 Savanna Amour

1st up since Spring, at best is a 112/113 horse who loves Caulfield. Problem is she’ll probably see a bit of it from the outside gate! Likes to race on pace but will have to go back to get a trail here. Ron Stewart will need to be at his best to produce her 113 first up from the gate, however I do think she’ll get a trail and the pace on will help.

#8 Snitty Kitty

Love this mare, super genuine on pace sprinter who loves Caulfield but I think this is a bit hard from the gate. She has peaked at 113 so far, but first up this prep had her chance to do more and could only go 106. Need to see something better than that before, and it looks like she’ll be very wide on pace from the gate.

#9 Prussian Vixen

What a performer PRUSSIAN VIXEN is. This time last year she put 4 x 106 ratings together in a row for two wins, a 2nd and a 3rd, one of the wins and the third at G3 and Listed level. Races on pace, makes her own luck and just keeps trying. Didn’t come up last prep but this prep is back in form – won first up rating 109 as a 40/1 chance. This on top of being 25/1 and 11/1 at her other two wins last year!!!

She MAY have a 111 in her one day at absolute max and though she has a wide gate I think she’ll get a good run on pace, doesn’t have to lead, can sit on pace, and she’ll try her guts out – however I think she’ll end up just short of the mark with those figures

#10 Sword Of Light

Nice 4yo mare who has rated 108 in each of her last two preps, and maybe she has more in her down the track – she’s still only a 4yo after all. However, at this trip with pace on she’ll likely be outpaced and back, and though she will finish hard I would be surprised if she did a 113 here.

#11 Bons Away

BONS AWAY is a 111 horse at top, in his short career he got up to that last Spring, still only a 4yo, so it depends how he’s going first up but he’s a strong horse so the pace should help him if anything. Gets sit behind the pace from the gate for mine and already a winner here, can finish hard. Doubt more than the 111 first up though.

#12 Lady Esprit

Nice mare at her level, rated 105 LST and could see a 107 at top but she’s still short of the job for mine.

#13 Rock N Gold

7yo racing very well, won LST 104 against a mod pace, her top is 108-9 but as a 7yo the query is her reliability in doing it. Still, she’ll get clear air midfield to back from the gate and the pace on will help, has a worrying record at the track though.

#14 Palazzo Pubblico

Maps well from the gate but hasn’t gone past 106 and I can’t reasonably suggest she will now as a 6yo.

#15 Genall

Interesting mare! On debut as a 3yo in August 2016 she won a MDN by 3.3L and rated 108… that’s an enormous MDN figure. She came back heavily supported in town in good races but couldn’t go beyond the 108 2nd prep. Spelled before the Spring she came back rating 107, then held it on inferior ground in the Starlight Stakes, before being spelled again. Still have to say she has a potential 112/113 in her, but has yet to do it obviously.

No trial this time, but gets a great run from the gate. First look Vic way, first look Caulfield is not the track you want for your first look Vic way either, though some can love it plenty hate it. Absolute question mark runner and very difficult to mark.

#16 She Will Reign

Star 2yo of her year, won her MDN rating 107 at Kembla in amazing sectionals, before finishing that prep 4 runs later with a Golden Slipper win, rating 113.

In the Spring she won the McEwen first up 1000m rating 106, it was an amazing win where nothing went right, effectively higher. She then went to the Everest and nothing went right there, forgive run. Spelled, she wins first up this prep at WFM rating 105, as $1.25 fave. She went OK, did what she had to but I still have to see how she’s going.

Loved her as a 2yo, I certainly can’t give her beyond her 113 yet until I see a sign that she is on track for it, she’s drawn wide but I think Melham gets her in. This run will tell me a lot hopefully! Could run anywhere from favourite to double figures!

#17 Catchy

Melbourne’s star 2yo of last Autumn, winning the Blue Diamond this day last year, 4 wins from 4 starts at that point. She rated 106 in doing that. Forgive the Slipper failure, then came back 107-108-108 in the Spring, with a 111-113 looking a certainty as a couple of those runs were effective 111’s anyway.

She went off the boil and was spelled, now first up again, the pace will help her and she loves Caulfield, happy to give at least the 111.

#18 Booker

Another nice 3yo filly, she won on debut last May rating 108, then went poorly 2nd go. 2nd prep she peaked at 107. This prep she has come back with a 112 and has fulfilled that 112/113 potential. Drawn wide is a problem but I do map her getting in, obviously not certain to do it.

#19 Quilista

First emergency: A nice 4yo mare racing well for Weir and we may not have seen her top, 107 LST and found the line well, I think she has at least a 109 in her. No rider at this stage, maps ideally if she gets a start.

#20 Olivier

Second emergency: 7yo now whose best looks behind him, outclassed if he gets a run, unless he gets some of the Smerdon raceday “treatment” maybe!!!

Good luck everyone!

– Cameron O’Brien

Cameron O’Brien’s ‘Key Bets’ membership has been on fire of late, finding 9 winners in the last 15 bets for a +18 units profit!

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