2011 Oakleigh Plate Nominations Feature 25 Sprinters

February 21st, 2011

The 2011 Oakleigh Plate nominations were released this morning with 25 horses entered for the Blue Diamond Stakes Day sprint feature this Saturday, February 26 at Caulfield Racecourse.

The $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) is one of three Group 1 races on the Caulfield card this Saturday along with the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and the day’s marquee event, the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) for two-year-olds.

The top-rated entry in this year’s Oakleigh Plate is the Tony Noonan-trained Ortensia.

Testa Rossa mare Ortensia travelled to Hong Kong during December to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) where she placed a credible fifth behind JJ The Jet Plate.

Returning to Australia she finished fourth first-up in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley before running third behind the now retired mare Typhoon Tracy in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) last start on February 12.

Connections however have also nominated Ortensia for the Futurity Stakes on Saturday, yet to decide which Group 1 showdown she will contest.

Noonan also has his Redoute’s Choice mare Varenna Miss nominated for the Oakleigh, the four-year-old coming off a good one and a half length win over Beaded in the Group 3 Hyderabad Race Club Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.

Dual Group 1 winner Star Witness, who scored victory in the Blue Diamond Stakes here 12 months back, is the other highest-rated entry for the Oakleigh Plate.

The Danny O’Brien-trained son of Starcraft scored their second Group 1 success during last year’s spring carnival winning the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.

Star Witness resumed this season with a first-up third behind Enjin Number Nine in the Listed Manfred Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on February 9 and is heading towards a showdown with star sprinter Black Caviar in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington’s Super Saturday of Racing on March 12.

Other Oakleigh Plate nominees that are also vying for a start in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap include the Mark Kavanagh-trained stablemates Catapulted and Undeniably.

Last start Catbird five-year-old Catapulted took out the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 12 ahead of Avenue and Solar Charged, both second and third placegetters set to back up in the Oakleigh Plate as well.

Meanwhile Fastnet Rock four-year-old Undeniably is coming off a devastatingly close second to Whitefriars in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on January 28.

Kavanagh also has last year’s Coolmore Stud Stakes third placegetter Shrapnel entered in the Oakleigh Plate.

Top Melbourne trainer Peter Moody has five Oakleigh Plate entries this year with Avenue, Reward For Effort and Set For Fame leading his contingent.

Also among this year’s Oakleigh Plate hopefuls are the consistent Faster Son, the Chris Waller-trained Shellscrape and Mossman three-year-old Stirling Grove who was scratched from last Saturday’s Lightning Stakes field.

The 2011 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate final field of acceptors will be out on Wednesday February 23 and published here, while the Blue Diamond Stakes field is released tomorrow.

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2011 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate Nominees

# Horse Trainer Handicapper Rating
1 AVENUE Peter G Moody 106
2 BIGELOW Clinton McDonald 82
3 BROKEN Darren Weir 92
4 CARDINAL VIRTUE David Payne 93
5 CATAPULTED Mark Kavanagh 110
6 EAGLE FALLS David Hayes 107
7 FASTER SON Trevor Bailey 92
8 FIRST COMMAND Lee Freedman 108
9 GENERAL TRUCE Ricky Maund 89
10 HINCHINBROOK Peter G Moody 94
11 KEANO (NZ) Danny O’Brien 96
12 ORTENSIA Tony Noonan 111
13 PANIPIQUE Peter G Moody 88
14 RESPONSE Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra 107
15 REWARD FOR EFFORT Peter G Moody 105
16 SET FOR FAME Peter G Moody 107
17 SHELLSCRAPE Chris Waller 103
18 SHRAPNEL Mark Kavanagh 92
19 SOLAR CHARGED John O’Shea 98
20 STAR WITNESS Danny O’Brien 113
21 STIRLING GROVE Richard Jolly 94
22 TIME MATTERS Darren Weir 101
23 UNDENIABLY Mark Kavanagh 96
24 VARENNA MISS Tony Noonan 93
25 ZEDI KNIGHT Brendan McCarthy 95