Booker blazes an Oakleigh Plate trail with Group 3 victory

Feb 10, 2018

The Group 1 Oakleigh Plate is next for classy filly Booker after her dominant first-up win in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.

Booker won the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield in the spring but started her latest preparation with a strong win over the shorter trip at her first run since the Group 1 Thousand Guineas last October.

Mathew Ellerton, who trains Booker in partnership with Simon Zahra, said the smart galloper pulled up with a problem after the Thousand Guineas but her class as a sprinter meant she would race over shorter courses this time in.

“She was sore in a knee - it didn’t require surgery, but she was sore,” Ellerton said.

“She had a nice break afterwards and we've also learned she is best at sprinting, so we’ll keep her sprinting now.”

Dwayne Dunn stuck with Booker and made full use on the daughter of Written Tycoon’s smart beginning to the $150,000 race, sending her straight to the front.

Dunn was always in control of the race during the early and middle stages, which left plenty in the tank for Booker’s dash to the line in the straight and the filly was up to her part of the bargain, holding her rivals comfortably to score by 1 ½ lengths.

Ellerton said the handicap conditions of the Oakleigh Plate would mean a significant drop from the 57kg she carried to victory first-up.

“Today was a terrific win and the Oakleigh Plate is the aim,” Ellerton said. “She should get in with no weight.

“Dwayne (Dunn) was able to control the race from the front today and she cornered terrific.

“She’s strengthened from the spring and is an impressive filly now, she’s like a colt."

Booker’s win was her third from seven starts while the $97,750 winner’s cheque took her stakes tally to more than $393,750.

Congratulations to Booker’s wonderful band of owners and all involved with the classy performer’s latest win.