Oak Door wins opener at Flemington

Magic Millions Guineas hopes for Oak Door had to be shelved when he had not earned enough prize money, but the colt has landed a consolation win at Flemington.

After Saturday’s victory at Melbourne racing’s headquarters in the Better Beyond Plate, Oak Door’s part-owner Ken Marshall paid tribute to the late Phil Sly, who bought the colt as a yearling.

Sly, a prominent racehorse owner, lost his battle with cancer in April last year.

“One of my best mates, the late Phil Sly, was the one who bought him at the Magic Millions sale,” Marshall said.

“He got a few of us involved in the horse and this is for Phil.

“He really liked the horse. He bought him at the Magic Millions sale and unfortunately we missed getting up to the Magic Millions this year because of prize money. But who knows, next year maybe we’ll be up there.”

The Robert Smerdon-trained Oak Door made it back-to-back city wins in Melbourne after a victory at Sandown earlier this month to take his record to three wins from nine starts.

Oak Door had been entered for a 1600m race at Sandown on Wednesday but Smerdon scratched him, preferring to stick to 1400m on Saturday.

It paid dividends as the lightly raced three-year-old, sent out a $4.60 chance, crossed from the outside gate to take up the running under apprentice Ben Thompson before going on to score by three-quarters of a length.

Favourite Widgee Turf ($2.25) ran into second with Fudged ($31) two lengths away.

“He just keeps progressing every start and hopefully we can go forward from here and get into some better races,” Marshall said.

Thompson said Oak Door was building a good record and was still maturing.

“He’s going to be a nice miler next time in I think,” Thompson said.

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