Booker back in action & Marcel ready to fire at Caulfield

Sep 27, 2018

Group 2 winner Booker will be back in action while Marcel From Madrid will have his last run before the Caulfield Guineas in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude on a busy post-Grand Final Sunday.

Booker will make a belated start to her spring campaign in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) after a trapped epiglottis forced a minor veterinary procedure on her throat.

Booker was nearly ready to have a jumpout when the issue arose but swift veterinary work meant the mare only missed a week’s training and will be ready to rock in the Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m).

“She won the (Group 2) Thousand Guineas Prelude at this meeting last year so it’s the perfect race to start her off,” co-trainer Simon Zahra said.

“She was pretty fit before we had to stop with her so it has only been a matter of building her back up a little bit but she looks terrific and goes well at Caulfield first-up.

“We expect her to go close to winning from the inside draw.”

Zahra said Marcel From Madrid’s last run should simply be forgotten when assessing his chances of returning to the winner’s list in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Marcel From Madrid finished eighth in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight last time out but Zahra said the three-year-old was never comfortable.

“He went forward and was at his top the whole way and that’s not where we get the best out of him,” Zahra said.

“He should be able to relax and travel over the 1400m and he’s now looking for that distance or a bit further. We think he’ll run a lot better on Sunday and can press on to the Caulfield Guineas.”

Aristia is a maiden but the promising filly certainly won’t be out of place when she tackled Group 2 company in the Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Aristia was second behind Marcel From Madrid in the Group 3 National Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide as a two-year-old and has produced solid runs at both her runs this time in.

“She’s still learning about racing but there’s no doubt she’s got a lot of ability,” Zahra said.

“She ran on well at The Valley in a race that was dominated by on-pacers and she’ll go well again if there’s some speed on for her.”

Smart Coupe is an emergency but will be competitive if she gets a start in the Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap (1100m).

Smart Coupe hit the line hard from the back of the field when third in a Benchmark 84 race at Bendigo first-up but Zahra said the daughter of Smart Missile has improved ahead of her harder second-up assignment.

“We couldn’t be happier with her work since her first-up run and we know she has the talent because she ran some excellent races in Group class last time in,” Zahra said.

“If she gets a run and races up to her work, she’ll go really well.”

Damian Lane will ride Booker and Marcel From Madrid. Damien Thornton will ride Aristia while Smart Coupe will again have the services of Linda Meech.

Good luck to the jockeys and owners of all the horses engaged at Caulfield and a big thanks to our staff who have yet again worked tirelessly to have our runners in terrific condition for Sunday.