Odeon takes on Winx in Ellerton Zahra Racing's three-state raid

Apr 13, 2018

Ellerton Zahra Racing will be on the world stage again when Odeon takes on super mare Winx in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

Enormous international interest centres on Winx’s attempt to notch her 25th straight win but Odeon will be competing for a big slice of the $4 million prizemoney on offer in Sydney’s weight-for-age showpiece.

Odeon is at big odds to upset Winx, but the gelding is guaranteed enough prizemoney to cover the costs of the trip, giving connections a free shot at a huge windfall.

The big stage holds no fears for Odeon after he scored in front of 95,000 people on track and the millions watching around the world on Melbourne Cup day and was far from disgraced with his last effort in Group 1 company.

Co-trainer Simon Zahra pointed to Odeon’s effort when beaten 2 ½ lengths in the Group I Mackinnon Stakes over the Flemington 2000m course in the spring as an indication the son of Zacinto had the talent to earn a significant sum at Randwick.

“You’re running around for $4 million and you’ve got to have a crack at something someday,” Zahra, who trains Odeon in partnership with Mathew Ellerton, said.

“He didn’t disgrace himself in the spring. On a four-day back-up, Happy Clapper beat him a length. He beat home Gailo Chop in that Mackinnon Stakes as well, so he wasn’t out of place in it.

“That’s why we’re going. At the end of the day, the costs of the trip will be covered by the prizemoney and there’s no reason he can't run third or fourth.”

Classy filly Booker has joined Odeon in Sydney and will compete for $600,000 in prizemoney in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) with Dwayne Dunn back aboard.

Ben Thompson rode Booker at light weights for her two respectable runs in the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap but she drops back to three-year-old grade at Randwick.

“She trialled really well up in Sydney last week so that way of going will be no problem for her,” Zahra said.

“Her runs in the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap were more than good enough for a race like Saturday’s. It’s not an easy task but she’s definitely up to winning the race.”

While the rich action is in Sydney on Saturday, Ellerton Zahra Racing will be in the action in stakes class in Adelaide on the same day. Staying three-year-olds Into Rio and High ‘n’ Dry will tackle the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m).

The pair goes into the $110,000 race with recent wins to their names. High ‘n’ Dry was particularly impressive when scoring easily at Sandown last time out and both horses are on trial for the South Australian Derby in a few weeks.

Unlucky filly Sheezdashing will compete at Caulfield in the Thomas North Handicap (1600m). The filly has been held up or other things go wrong in all three runs this time in and she is due for a change of luck in the $120,000 race.

Good luck to all the owners and thank you to the staff for a huge team effort to get these horses to their respective races in prime condition.