Flemington training partnership Ellerton Zahra have had an astonishing run of 18 wins in 22 days at race tracks around Victoria.
Victorian breeders will be thrilled with this success as the two young trainers are some of the best buyers and trainers of Victorian bred yearlings.
In fact, of the 18 wins, 15 of them were horses bred in this state.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, eight of those wins were for Jenny and David Moodie’s Contract Racing outfit.
While the Ellerton and Zahra partnership had a deliberately quiet Spring Racing Carnival, the second half of November and December have been extremely lucrative.
“In August we made a conscious decision that if we didn’t have a group horse, a stakes horse, or a very good three-year-old that was mentally ready, we weren’t going to run them,” Simon Zahra said.
The result is ten city winners since the end of the carnival including two doubles at Sandown on December 5 and December 9.
The team has managed to get Moparee and Miss Maggiebeel – both progeny of Eliza Park sire Magnus – back to winning form after lengthy periods without a victory.
A smart batch of younger Victorian bred horses such as Durendal, Siding Spring, Magna Rossa and Crystal Dreamer have shown themselves to possess the ability to become outstanding city class types.
And perhaps we saw the best of their winners on Saturday at Flemington when Durendal posted a strong win in the Western Health Foundation Handicap (1200m).
Durendal scored at Pakenham in October and Ballarat in November before proving too strong in the lead-up to Christmas at Flemington. The four-year-old is now being aimed at the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m)..
“He’s graduated from Benchmark class and he’s probably earned a shot at the Standish,” Ellerton said.
If Durendal wins the summer feature at Flemington, he will become the fourth stakes winner for his dam, Razor Blade (herself by former Moodie owned sire Blazing Sword). Durendal is a sibling to Group 1 winning Flamberge as well as stakes winners Curtana and Sunburnt Land.