Ellerton Zahra Racing shooting for dual Group 1 glory at Caulfield
Feb 23, 2018
Race days don’t get much bigger than Saturday at Caulfield where Ellerton Zahra Racing has five runners in two Group 1 races and will compete for $2 million in prizemoney.
Smart Charge Forward colt Ollivander will carry the stable’s hopes in the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes and will be out to put a below-par performance behind him against some of the country’s best two-year-olds.
Ollivander showed he was Blue Diamond standard with an impressive win at Caulfield in December before a fighting second in the Blue Diamond Preview on January 27.
The Blue Diamond Preview was run in hot and humid conditions, which explained his unplaced effort in the Blue Diamond Prelude but trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra, along with their staff, have worked to get Ollivander back and firing.
Ollivander’s gallop at Werribee on Monday showed he was ready to take his place in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“He has taken a while to bounce back but his coat has got a bit more life to it and he’s a bit rounder shape, which is good,” Zahra said.
“He just seems a bit happier in himself. He galloped really nicely and pulled up well.”
Ollivander has drawn well in barrier three and Chris Symons has the ride on the youngster.
The stable has done a terrific job to get four runners in the Group I Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
The 2016 Oakleigh Plate winner Flamberge will lead the charge after his great second in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes at his last run while three-year-old filly Booker will take on the older horses in the $500,000 event.
Booker goes into the Oakleigh Plate with a brilliant win in the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes to her name and Ben Thompson has the ride on her at the feather weight of 51.5kg.
Barrier 16 is not ideal for the speedy Booker, but she is a Group 2 winner over 1400m and will be tough enough to fight out the finish even if things don’t go her way.
Grand campaigner Rock ‘N’ Gold will have a crack at his maiden Group 1 win after notching his first stakes win last time out at Flemington. The sprinter has earned a crack at a big race with Damien Thornton aboard.
Katelyn Mallyon will return from Sydney to ride Sword Of Light for her old bosses in the Oakleigh Plate. The mare will tackle the Oakleigh Plate first-up and she wasn’t too far away when resuming at Caulfield in the spring.
We wish all the owners involved and the team the very best of luck on what could be a huge day for Ellerton Zahra Racing.