Currently amidst a standout racing season which has already delivered a maiden Adelaide trainers premiership, South Australian Phillip Stokes is confident of further success afield with staying prospect Éclair Samba in this weekend’s Ascot Racecourse Handicap (2000m) at Flemington.
Saddling such stakes winners as Hucklebuck, Molto Bene and Éclair Big Bang through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Stokes has claimed a total of five Melbourne victories during the current racing calendar and is a fighting chance of adding a sixth on Saturday.
Breaking through for a maiden race win this time in in the Sportingbet BM82 (2014m) at Morphettville on July 5th, Stokes is understandably pleased with the current form of the Ekraar gelding and is confident racing conditions will play precisely into his strengths.
“He hit form last start and he seems to hold it for two or three runs and wet tracks are not a problem for him,” Stokes told AAP.
“He’s down in the weights so I thought it would be a good time to send him over before he gets up in the rating points.
“Obviously this is harder than Adelaide but we’ll give him his chance.”
Contesting an impressive total of five race wins and three minor places from just 11 competitive starts, Éclair Samba was a notable performer over the spring and summer of 2013; overcoming a disappointing run for seventh in the Yellowglen Handicap (1200m) first-up with two unlucky runs for second and third and three resounding race victories.
Running on to finish fourth in the Endeavour Homes Handicap (1550m) first-up on June 14th, the gelding out of Eurotec was unlucky to be checked early and squeezed out in the final straight of The Saroa BM90 (1600m) prior to his most recent triumph.
Yet to contest a race outside of South Australia, Éclair Samba is currently offered at odds of $5 to win the Ascot Racecourse Handicap at Flemington this weekend; registering as sole occupant of the second line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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