Three great chances to start Melbourne Cup week at Flemington

Nov 02, 2018

Promising three-year-old Zoutori has the job of kicking off a big Melbourne Cup week for Ellerton Zahra Racing in Saturday’s Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington.

Trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra earmarked the traditional Derby day opener for Zoutori before his impressive first-up win at Kyneton and his last outing at Caulfield gave the trainers no reason to change their plans.

Zoutori was annoyed by a riderless horse before finishing a little over a length from the winner in the Group 3 Gothic Stakes at Caulfield on October 20. Zahra said the son of Zoustar has continued to thrive since that run.

“He probably should have won last start, so we know he’s going very well,” Zahra said.

“The Carbine Club Stakes is one of his main spring targets along with the Sandown Guineas in a couple of weeks and he’s ticking over nicely towards them.

“He has raced well at Flemington before and the 1600m should be perfect for him now so we’re going into the race expecting another strong run from him.”

Aristia will be on trial for a VRC Oaks berth in the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m).

The filly has raced in terrific fashion in top company through her spring three-year-old campaign and was a half-length from a deserved maiden win in the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last start.

Zahra said a different set of circumstances could have produced a better result.

“She ran super but the winner got on her back and got the perfect trip into the race from the 600m at Caulfield,” Zahra said.

“If you reverse the runs, she probably wins that race.

“She’s drawn wider in the Wakeful Stakes and we think she’ll prefer being the hunter rather than the hunted so she’s going to be finishing off strongly at the end of the race.

“Whether she goes on to the Oaks, we’ll see how she pulls up, but she’s racing really well at the moment and will go close again on Saturday.”

Booker will be out to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Caulfield when she steps out in the Group 3 Furphy Sprint (1100m).

Booker struggled when beaten more than five lengths in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield on October 20 but drops back to 1200m and returns to the Flemington straight course where she was a debut winner.

“She was disappointing, but she might not have liked racing on the soft and shifty track at Caulfield,” Zahra said.

“We’re hoping getting back to the straight course will be good for her.

“She has run well in every start down the straight. She won there on debut then was beaten less than length in the Danehill Stakes and wasn’t far away in a Newmarket Handicap in the autumn.

“She’s a Group 2 winner and certainly capable of a better run at Flemington.”

Damian Lane will ride Zoutori and Aristia while Damien Oliver will take the mount on Booker in the Furphy Sprint.

Good luck to the connections of all of our Derby day runners and thanks to out wonderful staff for getting the trio to the races in such terrific condition.