Talking Points: Saturday, 25th February 2023

A plethora of top shelf performances on Saturday but we’re focusing on two races that will shape a mouth-watering Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in two weeks’ time.

UNCOMMON JAMES winning the Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (Chute, Second WP)
UNCOMMON JAMES winning the Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (Chute, Second WP) Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix

Nothing common about James

Uncommon James was denied a shot at Group 1 glory in the Spring, set to go into the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) as favourite before injury ruled him out.

The S O'Dea & M Hoysted trained four-year-old, who has now won 6/8, measures right up there with the better Oakleigh Plate winners in recent years, running to a clear new career peak of 121 with Timeform.

In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2014 to find a better winner, where superstar sprinter Lankan Rupee ran to 125, before winning the Newmarket and T J Smith that preparation.

Last year Marabi ran an identical figure of 121 but in the time between her and Lankan Rupee, the winning average of the race has been just shy of 117.

Interestingly, no horse since the aforementioned Lankan Rupee has won the Oakleigh Plate/Newmarket double, and prior to him only the likes of Weekend Hussler (125 in the OP), Schillaci, Placid Ark and Dual Choice have managed to win the double.

History seems to suggest you need to be an out-and-out star to win the double, and no one is suggesting Uncommon James quite fits that bill yet, but the Oakleigh Plate has provided plenty of Newmarket winners, including two of the past three, and Uncommon James has comfortably bettered Bivouac (117) and Zoutori (116) in the lead ups.

Out of the Oakleigh Plate, Lofty Strike has run tremendously from the back, just finding himself with too much to do late but running a slight new career peak of 118, up from 116.

Telling there was the market support- halving in price from his early quote to $6.50 favourite, he looks right on track, having defeated Uncommon James first up and also having run very well in both the Coolmore and Champions' Sprint down the straight.


Shine off In Secret

Winning that Coolmore was of course In Secret, and her rating of 120 that day was one of the best performances by a filly in the race's history.

With three-year-olds having won 11 of the past 25 Newmarket's, In Secret has been the long-time favourite for this year's edition however defeat in Saturday's Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) may have some querying how good she is.

Good news for Godolphin, her ratings profile is very similar this preparation to last. She ran four times last campaign and went 108-113-114-120.

Her 114 in the Golden Rose, at 1400m, is an identical rating to what she did on Saturday, again at 1400m.

I'm convinced she's better at 1200m and if she races on at four, I doubt we'll see her tackle seven furlongs again, with the opportunity to race for Group 1's against her own age and sex to good to pass up now.

Given she's run 110-114 this preparation, one could argue she's still on track to run up to her peak of 120, dropping back from 1400m to the Flemington 1200m in a near-identical set up.

With around 51kg, and likely meeting a horse like Uncommon James better than at weight-for-age, she shouldn't be written off just yet.

Betting opportunities should be aplenty in the Newmarket as well, with I Wish I Win rocketing to the top of the betting after a devasting finish to grab second in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m).

He's far better suited rising in trip, but it is interesting to note that Timeform rated his performance in the Lightning at 120, one pound short of Uncommon James on Saturday and level with In Secret's peak.

If the handicapper penalises I Wish I Win for his run first up at weight-for-age and he's suddenly carrying close to 56kg, there could be a strong case to back against him with a couple better weighted ones coming off defeats. Stay tuned.


Racing and Sports



Sandown-Lakeside

Saturday, 25th February 2023

9
17:40
(local)

Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (Chute, Second WP) (G1)

WT: 50.0kg Type: OPEN
AUD $752,000
1100m TURF GOOD
9
17:40
(local)
AUD $752,000
1100m GOOD

Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (Chute, Second WP) (G1)

WT: 50.0kg Type: OPEN
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 8. UNCOMMON JAMES (AUS) 4yo G
CABLE BAY (IRE) - PICKABEE (AUS)
BEN THOMPSON
S O'DEA & M HOYSTED
$9
53.5kg
Lavin Park Racing & Breeding (Mgr: Mrs C L Hoysted)
2nd 10. LOFTY STRIKE (AUS) 3yo C
SNITZEL (AUS) - OVERREACH (AUS)
CRAIG NEWITT
JULIUS SANDHU
$6.5
53kg
Lofty Thoroughbred Group (Mgr: P Lofitis)

Sales Information

3rd 9. ASFOORA (AUS) 4yo M
FLYING ARTIE (AUS) - GOLDEN CHILD (AUS)
JYE MCNEIL
HENRY DWYER
$7.5
53kg
Noor Elaine Farm Pty Ltd (Mgr: A A El-Fahkri)

Sales Information

4th 5. KING OF SPARTA (AUS) 4yo G
I AM INVINCIBLE (AUS) - OCTAVIA (AUS)
J ALLEN
PETER & PAUL SNOWDEN
$13
55.5kg

Sales Information

5th 6. ZOUSTYLE (AUS) 7yo G
ZOUSTAR (AUS) - FASHION (GER)
ETHAN BROWN
TONY GOLLAN
$21
55kg

Sales Information

6th 15. STAR PATROL (AUS) 4yo G
STARSPANGLEDBANNER (AUS) - IT'S ONE (AUS)
MICHAEL DEE
CLINTON MCDONALD
$9.5
52kg

Sales Information

7th 13. I AM ME (AUS) 4yo M
I AM INVINCIBLE (AUS) - MEFNOODA (AUS)
JAMIE KAH
CIARON MAHER & DAVID EUSTACE
$8.5
52kg

Sales Information

8th 11. CHAIN OF LIGHTNING (AUS) 4yo M
FIGHTING SUN (AUS) - MAGIC ART (AUS)
CRAIG WILLIAMS
PETER G MOODY
$7
52.5kg
9th 7. MARINE ONE (AUS) 4yo H
CAPITALIST (AUS) - GOLCONDA (AUS)
HARRY COFFEY
CIARON MAHER & DAVID EUSTACE
$26
54kg

Sales Information

10th 1. ROCH 'N' HORSE (NZ) 6yo M
PER INCANTO (USA) - ROCHFORT (NZ)
JAMIE MOTT
MICHAEL MORONEY
$21
58kg

Sales Information

11th 12. SHOOTING FOR GOLD (AUS) 5yo G
SHOOTING TO WIN (AUS) - AMBER'S CROWN (AUS)
JADEN LLOYD
S O'DEA & M HOYSTED
$51
52.5kg

Sales Information

12th 16. ZAPATEO (AUS) 4yo M
BRAZEN BEAU (AUS) - JEREZANA (AUS)
DANIEL MOOR
JAMES CUMMINGS
$10
52kg
13th 4. THE ASTROLOGIST (AUS) 6yo G
ZOUSTAR (AUS) - AQUADA (AUS)
BLAKE SHINN
Leon & Troy Corstens
$41
56.5kg

Sales Information

14th 3. MASKED CRUSADER (AUS) 6yo G
TORONADO (IRE) - SHE'S GOT GEARS (AUS)
BEN MELHAM
MICHAEL & WAYNE & JOHN HAWKES
$19
57kg

Sales Information

15th 14. MILEVA (AUS) 5yo M
HEADWATER (AUS) - LADY EINSTEIN (AUS)
DEAN HOLLAND
PHILLIP STOKES
$91
52kg

Sales Information

16th 17. SHAMINO (AUS) 7yo G
SHAMUS AWARD (AUS) - ELUMINO (AUS)
KAYLA CROWTHER
PHILLIP STOKES
$101
52kg