Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s undefeated mare Marabi has added a Group 1 to her growing resume with a win in the $750,000 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
The daughter of I Am Invincible was installed as a short $2.60 favourite in the field of 13 after taking out the Group 2 Australia Stakes at The Valley last month, and she did not disappoint thanks to a perfect ride from Ben Allen.
After dropping significant weight to jump in the irons, the winning hoop claimed his first Group 1 by remaining patient and absorbing a ton of early pressure.
With a hot tempo, Marabi settled just behind the pace before Allen pushed the button 200m from home, winning by half a length over Away Game to set up a stable quinella.
“There’s been a few times that I’ve come close and I’ve been knocked back, but I never thought I’d get a chance on a horse like her,” Allen told racing.com.
“Pretty much cut out all food that you enjoy eating, just fruit and vegetables for the past month. Training twice a day, I haven’t been riding much the past month so I could train.”
The lightly-raced five-year-old put the writing on the wall when she won a Class 1 at The Valley on debut this time last year followed by a BM70 three weeks later.
She continued her rise through the grades last November with another dominant seven-length win at Ballarat, followed by a win in the Xmas Stakes on Boxing Day at Caulfield, and a big win over SInawann in the Group 2 Australian Stakes a fortnight ago back at The Valley.
Maher said after the race that it was great to finally tick the Group 1 box, and he was happy to pay most of the credit to Allen’s fantastic ride.
“It was great to get rewarded with a horse like this. Ben Allen had to get down and get busy with the weight off, and it was super, he does a lot of work with the stable,” Maher said after the race.
The sky is seemingly the limit for the top-class sprinter but Maher wasn’t prepared to elaborate on what might come next.
“It’s just fantastic. I suppose the pressure builds every start now. Fantastic mare and we’ll let the dust settle and go from there,” he said.
The always consistent Away Game found the money for the third time running, while double-digit roughie Oxley Road filled the drama with a bursting run out wide.