Fresh Faatinah primed for Oakleigh Plate

By: Mathew Toogood Wednesday 19 February 20

Three years after finishing second to stablemate Sheidel in the Oakleigh Plate, noted fresh sprinter Faatinah is set for another crack at the Group One handicap at Caulfield.

Faatinah will be first-up since November in Saturday's Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and the multiple stakes winner takes in an enviable fresh record as he chases an elusive Group One win at his 10th attempt.

The seven-year-old gelding has won five from seven when first-up from a spell along with another two wins, which were both in Dubai, coming off 10 and seven week let-ups respectively.

His only defeats first-up were in the WJ Adams Stakes before his Oakleigh Plate placing and in the Group One Moir Stakes in 2017.

With that in mind the Lindsay Park team has targeted the Oakleigh Plate first-up with the gelding who won a recent Wodonga barrier trial by a length and has drawn barrier five in a capacity field of 18 plus one emergency.

He has 55.5kg, 3kg more than 2017.

"His trial at Wodonga was good and he seems in great order," co-trainer David Hayes said.

"We've purposely kept him for this fresh.

"We resisted running him in a lead-up race."

In both 2018 and 2019 Faatinah campaigned in Dubai early in the year and won ratings races first-up from a let-up on both occasions.

Hayes believes the gelding is in a similar vein of form for his return at Caulfield.

Last spring Faatinah won the Group Two McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley first-up, narrowly beating the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Bons Away who is set for his third attempt in an Oakleigh Plate on Saturday.

Bons Away was a close fifth in 2018 before finishing fourth last year and he was at $23 on Wednesday while Faatinah, to be ridden by Regan Bayliss, was $31.

Group One-winning three-year-old colt Bivouac, to be ridden by Craig Williams, is the $2.90 favourite and has drawn barrier seven but will jump from six if emergency Vainstream (barrier one) does not gain a start.

Three-year-old filly Anaheed, who won the Group Two Rubiton Stakes over the same course and distance last Saturday week, is the $5 second favourite and has drawn 15.

Free Of Debt (19) and I Am Immortal (18) afre also three-year-old colts to accept and they will jump from even deeper on the track