Chine set to shine at Caulfield

Crepe De Chine will be striving to continue the good recent record of mares in the Oakleigh Plate when she steps out in the Group One feature at Caulfield on Saturday.

Mares have won two of the last four runnings with Reactive winning the 1100m sprint in 2004 and River Dove a year earlier.

Four mares will contest the race this year with Illusionist, Reshuffles and Soleil rounding out the quartet but Crepe De Chine at $13 is rated the best of them.

The four-year-old won two stakes races in New Zealand before arriving at the Melbourne stable of Danny O'Brien last spring.

After a first-up fourth to Queen Of The Hill in the How Now Stakes she posted back-to-back wins at Caulfield and Flemington before connections decided to put her in the paddock with a view to the Oakleigh Plate.

She resumed with a solid fifth to Apache Cat in the Listed BMW Stakes last start and while O'Brien conceded the Oakleigh Plate represented a big leap in grade, he said Crepe De Chine had continued to please him.

"She's always been set for this race and she's come on well," O'Brien said.

"She should run well tomorrow, although obviously she's got to take the step from Listed and Group Three company to a Group One."

Crepe De Chine has the excellent second-up record of three wins from four attempts and O'Brien admitted it was in the back of his mind when setting her Oakleigh Plate program.

"We thought she'd need a run back to be at her best for a Group One race so we wanted to go into this at her second start," O'Brien said.

"It's a Group One handicap so all you can do is prepare your horse and see what happens but whatever does happen, she couldn't be any better than she is."

Big race jockey Glen Boss has ridden Crepe De Chine at her last two starts and has stuck with the mare tomorrow.

She has drawn awkwardly in barrier nine but O'Brien said her natural speed out of the gates should offset it.

"She's got great gate speed so she should go forward and the gate shouldn't be a problem," he said.

"Fast `N' Famous is the horse to beat. He has some real quality about him and he's only been beaten once at his last six or seven starts."

Punters agree and the John O'Shea-trained entire was the $3.20 Oakleigh Plate favourite in the TAB Sportsbet markets, ahead of Lightning Stakes runner-up Magnus at $4.60.

O'Brien will also be chasing a feature race win with imported galloper Honor In War in the Group Two St George Stakes (1800m).

The eight-year-old was unplaced first-up in the Orr Stakes and O'Brien said he needed to improve to figure.

"He's come through it well and he's in good shape but he's got to find a few lengths to be in the finish," O'Brien said.

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