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Flamberge aims for second Oakleigh Plate

Flamberge will be out to equal his own modern-day weight carrying record when he chases back-to-back Oakleigh Plate wins at Caulfield.

The gelding lumped 58kg to win a year ago, the most weight carried to victory in the metric era.

After a game fourth in the Group One weight-for-age Lightning Stakes last Saturday when he was beaten less than half a length, Flamberge will back up in Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m) for which he is a $12 chance.

The seven-year-old’s three Group One wins, all when he was trained by Peter Moody, have been at double figure odds in the 2015 Goodwood ($21), the 2016 Oakleigh Plate ($31) and the weight-for-age William Reid Stakes ($12) last year.

Flamberge didn’t fire in two spring starts for new trainer Darren Weir but jockey Brad Rawiller, who won last year’s William Reid on the gelding, said his first-up fourth in the Listed Kensington Stakes under 62.5kg last month signalled he had returned to his best.

“Last preparation, we just never had him mentally right since he had been at Darren’s,” Rawiller said.

“You just don’t know until you see it, but that first-up run with 62-1/2 kilos was unbelievable, I thought.

“It just said ‘this is the Flamberge of old’. And then he showed that again on the weekend in the Lightning.

“If he performs to that standard again on Saturday he’s going to take some beating. He’s drawn gate six, which is a great barrier. It just comes down to how he backs up.”

Rawiller expects 1100m to suit Flamberge even better than the 1000m of his first two starts this campaign and also believes he gets in quite well with 58kg.

Flamberge also contested the 2014 Oakleigh Plate, finishing fifth.

Damian Lane rode Flamberge in last year’s Oakleigh Plate and will be aboard stablemate Hellbent on Saturday.

Hellbent is at $7.50 and is the shortest price of four Weir-trained runners in the race with Winx’s younger half-brother El Divino at $17 and in-form Thermal Current at $19.

Dual Group One winner Extreme Choice is the $3.90 favourite and one of four three-year-olds in the race along with fellow colt El Divino and fillies I Am A Star and Missrock.

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