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The Group One Oakleigh Plate is again a target for Bons Away

The Group One Oakleigh Plate is again a target for Bons Away, with the sprinter’s connections hoping it will be third time lucky.

Six-year-old Bons Away begins his latest preparation towards an Oakleigh Plate tilt in Saturday’s Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield, a race he won last year when also resuming from a spell.

The Oakleigh Plate (1100m) is at the same track three weeks later.

Bons Away was beaten less than a length when fifth in a blanket finish to the 2018 Oakleigh Plate, while he finished fourth in the Group One handicap last year.

The gelding is a dual Listed winner and multiple Group Two placegetter and his co-trainer David Eustace believes the consistent sprinter deserves to win a big race.

“He’s probably not an out-and-out Group One horse but you sort of don’t need to be in the Oakleigh Plate, do you? You just need a bit of luck and the right weight,” Eustace said.

“If ever a horse deserved to win a race like that, it’s him.”

Eustace is thrilled with the way Bons Away has been preparing for Saturday’s return in the Adams Stakes in which he will carry equal top weight of 60kg in a field of 14.

“He’s flying,” Eustace said.

“He’s won that race before and 1000 metres at Caulfield first-up is his bread and butter.

“He’s a horse we think will take a lot of beating in a race like that and the Oakleigh Plate is his plan second-up.”

Bons Away carried 58kg when beating a pair of three-year-old colts, Written By and Encryption, last year and four three-year-olds figure among the acceptances for Saturday’s race, including colts I Am Immortal, Sartorial Splendor and Splintex.

The Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained three-year-old filly Sisstar, the younger sister to multiple Group One winner Sunlight, is also an acceptor.

Bons Away went winless during his most recent four-run preparation last spring but was a luckless second first-up in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at The Valley before a close second again over the same course and distance in the Group Two McEwen Stakes.

He was beaten just over half a length when fifth in the Group One Moir Stakes and hasn’t started since his fifth to Trekking in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes in October.

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