Exceltara powers home to Valley victory

Dec 01, 2018

Exceltara showed how quickly racing can turn when he stormed home to win the Woodside Park Stud Handicap (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

The Ellerton Zahra Racing team had endured a frustrating day at The Valley but Exceltara sent trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra home with a bit more spring in their step after his strong win.

Exceltara found the pace of the race against him when he finished second at his previous start at Kilmore, but the stable decided to back up the son of Excelebration six days later in the Benchmark 78 race.

“It was a bit of a muddling-run race at Kilmore last week and the six-day back-up, we thought there was no races around for him for three-and-a-half weeks,” Ellerton said.

“We thought, ‘oh well, he seemed pretty good’. He didn’t leave an oat all week, so we gave him a light week and ran him.”

Exceltara began awkwardly but that didn’t change jockey Luke Currie’s plan to let the gelding find his feet early in the $100,000 race.

Currie got Exceltara onto the back of the fancied runner Demolition rounding the home turn before the handy galloper sprinted best in the straight to score a narrow win, his second in three starts this time in.

“He was a little bit tardy out of the machines,” Currie said.

“Matty told me to just ride him for him and let him be where he’s happy.

“I got onto the right horse’s back around the corner and it was a matter of whether he had enough time to pick them up.

“He only just got there but he did a good job. He’s held his form and he was really good.”

Ellerton said the stable would keep guiding Exceltara through his grades over the summer period, which features plenty of options for the four-year-old.

“He’s that sort of horse and he’s up and going at the right time. It’s off-season and that’s good for him,” Ellerton said.

Exceltara’s latest win was his fourth in 14 starts while the $55,000 winner’s cheque took his stakes tally to more than $219,000.

Congratulations to Excletara’s owners and all involved with getting him to the race in such terrific order.