Brave Nasdex holds on to score at first run for Ellerton Zahra Racing

Dec 09, 2017

His trainers are still learning about him but Nasdex showed plenty of fight to score first-up in Saturday’s John Duff & Co BM78 Handicap (1000m) at Pakenham.

Flemington trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra took over Nasdex’s training after his previous trainer Ciaron Maher was suspended for six months in the spring.

Rain forced Ellerton and Zahra to delay Nasdex’s debut a week after entering the sprinter in an open-class event at Sandown last Saturday but the Benchmark 78 event at Pakenham was the perfect back-up plan.

In-form apprentice Stephanie Thornton capitalised on a quick beginning to send Nasdex straight to the front, controlling the race before the son of Not A Single Doubt held on to beat the favourite Wise Hero by a short-half head.

Nasdex’s win was the four-year-old’s fifth in his last eight starts. Zahra initially feared the sprinter would prove hard to place but said options would widen after his first-up win.

“He has just fitted in perfectly here. Ciaron placed him beautifully and we thought he might have been a bit hard to place but he did everything right,” Zahra said.

“We don’t know much about him other than he’s not a straight horse.

“He might have been a bit tubby, but he did everything right today.”

Thornton made the most of her first opportunity for Ellerton and Zahra with a well-judged ride on Nasdex.

“It was my first ride for Mathew and Simon and the horse was very well prepared for today, so it’s nice to kick off with a win,” Thornton said.

“They always seem to have a nice team, so fingers crossed I can get a few more opportunities for them.”

Congratulations to great stable supporters First Light Racing and Nasdex’s big bunch of owners and thanks to all involved with the smart sprinter’s debut win for Ellerton Zahra Racing.