Estijaab Back In Business

Golden Slipper winner Estijaab is on track to recapture her best after a promising return in the Inglis Sprint.

FIESTA winning the Inglis Sprint - 3yos.
FIESTA winning the Inglis Sprint - 3yos. Picture: Steve Hart

We had a look last week at returning Slipper winners and what they might tell us about Estijaab - you can read that story here

Estijaab might just have read that piece as she returned running to a Timeform rating of 109 in the Inglis Sprint - a rating which sits 9lbs below her Slipper-winning peak of 118. 

9lbs is bang on the average change for Slipper horses first-up at three based on our sample of similar profiles from this century and, if Estijaab continues to fall in line with averages, a return to that 118-rated peak is on the cards. 

The average change from peak for our group of Slipper stars in the long term was zero, with 24 of  the 38 at least matching their Slipper peak in subsequent seasons. 

Estijaab is yet to join that 24, sitting at the low end of the range as it stands, but by running to expectations first-up off a long break she has given herself a good platform to work from and that makes her a runner of interest in the coming weeks. 

Adding to that interest is the fact that big betting handicaps are likely to be on the agenda - the Oakleigh Plate and the Galaxy two races that could easily fit into her schedule. 

Talented form sleuth Simon Dinopoulos took a look at the Oakleigh Plate favourite Nature Strip during the week - in an article that you both can and should read by clicking here. - and found some clues that point towards the speedster running below his blistering best off a 14 day break.

An off-peak Nature Strip would leave the Oakleigh Plate wide open and Estijaab would come equipped with a terrific profile if she took her chance around Caulfield.  

Trend watchers may argue that no three-year-old filly has won the Oakleigh Plate since Miss Kournikova in 2001, but just 22 have run in that time, making the lone win a fair return against the participation rate.  

In fact, three-year-old fillies have beaten 56% of Oakleigh Plate rivals in that timeframe so it could easily be argued that they overperform. Casting a wider net typically shows up such trends as nonsense.  

Furthering the case for Estijaab is the fact that most of those 22 fillies were not as good as her. In fact just five of them were rated as highly on Timeform's scale - the pick of them being the 120-rated Virage De Fortune who ran second to Snitzel in 2006.  She lost the race to Snitzel, but she won nine other races there, and with the likes of Takeover Target and Miss Andretti among those behind, the race can hardly be viewed as a negative for the fillies. 

If not the Oakleigh Plate, the Galaxy, back on her home track, holds similar appeal. Either way, Estijaab is back in business and we're marking her a 'buy' heading into the Autumn. 

Racing and Sports