Booker brilliant in Oakleigh Plate triumph

Feb 23, 2019

Booker was unlucky not to win the race last year, but the super mare broke through for a deserved Group 1 win in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.

Booker was beaten less than a length from a wide gate in 2018 and a similar draw awaited the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained mare in the latest edition of the $500,000 sprint.

Lightweight jockey Dean Yendall let Booker find her feet while a hectic pace prevailed up front before charging home in straight to score by three-quarters of a length.

Booker joined VRC Oaks winner Aristia as a Group 1 winner for Ellerton Zahra Racing in the 2018/19 season while she gave Ellerton his third success in the Oakleigh Plate after winning the race in 2001 and 2003 with Miss Kournikova and River Dove respectively.

Ellerton said Booker had a mixed spring after an interrupted preparation but the Written Tycoon mare enjoyed a much smoother lead-up to her autumn campaign.

"She had a minor throat operation before she resumed in the spring, so it was a chequered preparation last time, but we have had a really smooth preparation with her this time around," Ellerton said.

"It's very satisfying ... she's a bit older and stronger now.

"It's a great result. She's certainly a deserved winner of a Group One.

"She's a quality mare and hopefully this is her preparation to shine. I think she's got good improvement in her too from today."

Booker is likely to receive a weight penalty for her Oakleigh Plate win but is likely to tackle the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington next time out.

The Oakleigh Plate win follows Booker’s Group 2 win in the Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) as a three-year-old.

Booker’s win was her fourth in 15 starts while the $300,000 winner’s cheque took her stakes tally to more than $840,000.

Congratulations to Booker’s extremely happy bunch of owners and all involved with Ellerton Zahra Racing’s latest Group 1 win.