No stars in Booker's way in 1000 Guineas

Oct 13, 2017

Two star fillies stood in the way of Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra’s last Thousand Guineas placegetter but a far more even field confronts the training duo’s 2017 contender.

Ellerton and Zahra prepared Sharnee Rose, who went into the 2011 Thousand Guineas as a maiden before finishing third to the subsequent multiple Group I winners Atlantic Jewel and Mosheen.

“There isn’t an Atlantic Jewel in this race but I do think Booker is a better horse that what Sharnee Rose was at that stage,” Zahra said.

The pair’s last two Thousand Guineas runners have missed a place but Zahra says their charge Booker is a great chance after her fighting win in the Group II Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) on October 1.

Booker finds herself in an eight-horse field in this year’s edition of the Thousand Guineas but Zahra says the $500,000 race will be an even contest, which could result in more speed than the Thousand Guineas Prelude.

“In saying that, the top four fillies, I don’t think there is a lot between them,”

“Alizee is a good filly, Leather’n’lace is on the way up and Shoals is a pretty serious horse and they might put a bit more pressure on this time.”

Zahra said Booker has had a light lead-in to the Thousand Guineas after fighting off Shoals and Catchy, who will tackle the Caulfield Guineas, last time out and completed her preparation with a short gallop at Flemington on Tuesday.

“She didn’t need a lot of work because she had a tough run the other day so she just ran home (400m) in 24 on the grass with a mate. Did it on the bit,” Zahra said.

“We just wanted to save a bit for raceday.

“She’s probably not as pumped-up as she has been but that’s a good thing because she can be highly-strung but since that race, she has been pretty settled.”

Dwayne Dunn will be aboard Booker again in the Thousand Guineas and Zahra expects similar on-pace tactics in the Thousand Guineas.

“I think she’ll roll forward and sit outside the leader but she could lead if it works out that way unless Shoals kicks up and makes us work to get there,” Zahra said.

Good luck to Booker’s owners and everyone involved with the outstanding effort of getting the filly to the Thousand Guineas.