Marabi sprints away with the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate

Marabi ridden by Ben Allen wins the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Unbeaten sprinter Marabi silenced any doubters as she maintained her perfect record in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on Saturday.

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained five-year-old went into the 1100m feature as the $2.60 favourite, and although she didn’t lead like she has in her first six career victories, jockey Ben Allen gave her a terrific steer and booted home his first Group 1 winner as a jockey.

Allen allowed the speedy Malkovich to take up the lead, before easing off that gallopers heels in the straight to sprint away with the prize in the $750,000 feature.

“Say it one more time please. It’s unreal. I can’t explain it,” Allen said.

“There’s been a few times when I came close then I had a rough patch and I just never thought I’d get another chance in a Group 1, then to get a horse like her (is amazing).

“I could see Away Game coming and I thought if there was one horse to beat us it would be the stablemate but she’s tough and the race didn’t really pan out as I would have liked it to.

“I probably went a little bit early on her but she’s a mare that can sustain that gallop and I thought I’d use that to my advantage.

“Doing the form, I knew it would pan out like that. It’s an Oakleigh Plate and that’s just what you get. She’s got the class and the quality to overcome that.”

Having made her debut on February 11, 2021 at Pakenham, it is a huge feat for co-trainers Maher & Eustace to have been able to keep her sound, unbeaten and now reign supreme at the highest level.

“But Marabi, god. Fantastic. Greg Perry puts a lot into breeding and he’s got a lot of mares and just loves his racing. He’s very patient and very easy to train for so it’s great to get rewarded with a horse like this,” Maher said.

“And for Ben Allen, he had to really get down and get busy, get the weight off. For him to be rewarded with a Group 1 is super, he does a lot of work for the stable.

“I suppose the pressure builds every start now but it’s a good problem to have. Fantastic mare and we’ll just let the dust settle. This was the target and we’ll go from there.”

Marabi shot into contention for The Everest after today’s win, with bookmakers winding her in to $10 for the $15 million race in October.


  • 2nd: Away Game – Linda Meech: “She couldn’t have run any better. She just ran into Marabi who is absolutely flying.”
  • 3rd: Oxley Road – Blaike McDougall: “He’s run out of his skin. He’s bumped into a superstar, I think.”
  • 4th: Malkovich – Craig Newitt: “He went super. He ran as good as he possibly could.”
  • Dead Heat 5th: Bella Nipotina – Jamie Kah: “Bit disappointing. She’s actually slipped when she got out of the gates and missed the start after that. She just didn’t feel 100 per-cent. There might be something there.”
  • Dead Heat 5th: Poland – Michael Poy: “Really good run. My horse is first-up and this isn’t his grand final. He’s going to be seen over 1400 or even more. These are just out-and-out sprinters and he’s not really that type.”
  • 7th: General Beau – Matthew Cartwright: “Good run and should have finished at least two lengths closer as we copped a lot of interference. It was a good run and the horse is going well.”
  • 8th: Ingratiating – Craig Williams: “It was a hecticly run race. There was a little bit of interference in front of us which we got the backwash of on two occasions and I thought he stayed on reasonably under the circumstances.”
  • 9th: Wild Ruler – Mark Zahra: “He ran well. I probably would have liked an easier run in the first 800 metres or so.”
  • 10th: Minhaaj – Kerrin McEvoy: “We got pushed through the fence by cowboys.”
  • 11th: Streetcar Stranger – Paul Gatt: “Too far back, awkward barrier. It was just too hard to make up.
  • 12th: Zoutori – Damian Lane: “Ran well.”
  • 13th: Jonker – Jim Byrne: “He was a little bit below his best. He never really travelled and the tempo was too quick for him.”
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