Pressure on Durendal in Australia Stakes 2016

January 18, 2016

Pressure on Durendal in Australia Stakes 2016

Co-trainer Simon Zahra said it was time to put the pressure on emerging stable star Durendal who faces his toughest test to date in Saturday’s 2016 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley Racecourse.


Standish Handicap winner Durendal is on track for his maiden Group 2 and first weight-for-age run in Saturday’s 2016 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

The flying four-year-old son of Medaglia D’Oro makes his Group 2 debut at the notoriously tight track this weekend in the $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m).

The weight-for-age sprint attracted 19 nominations on Monday morning including a host of Group 1 winners and performers Durendal will need to beat to extend his winning streak to four on the trot.

He’s won all three of his starts since late November at Ballarat, continuing to rise through the ranks as Zahra and fellow Flemington-based trainer Mathew Ellerton step him up in class.

Last time out on January 1 at Flemington Durendal saluted as the $2.60 favourite for the punters in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) with a smart three-quarter length victory over Zupacharged.

Now he heads to the Valley for the second time where possible Australia Stakes rivals include the defending champion Mourinho, Phillip Stokes’ returning 2014 Emirates Stakes winner Hucklebuck, last Saturday’s Chester Manifold Stakes champ Tudor and John O’Shea’s class three-year-old Holler.

Durendal’s only other run at the track was back in November of 2014 when he ran third to subsequent Group 2 Caulfield Sprint – Stakes double winner Éclair Choice over 1200m at just his fifth career start.

Not only does he not boast the Group 1 experience of many of his likely rivals but Saturday is also his first weight-for-age run.

Zahra though couldn’t be happier with the horse’s fitness and current condition since the Standish Handicap success on New Year’s Day, the galloper having spent a week at owner David Moodie’s property before returning to his stable to gear up his work again.

“He stayed in work but he was in the paddock during the day and stabled at night,” Zahra told Racing Victoria.

“He worked in the morning and was back out in the grass during the day. It was just to get him out of the stable for a little bit and freshen him up.

“He’s been in work a while so it was just something a bit different for a week and hopefully it pays off.”

Durendal is scheduled to have a final serious gallop on Tuesday morning and Zahra hopes everything continues to go exactly as planned as it has all preparation.

“He still looks fantastic,” he said.

“His form as a three-year-old was good and he’s been placed really well this campaign and built his confidence up.

“Now we’re going to go to the Valley, it’s something a bit trickier and a bit different and we’re going to raise the level again and see if he can stand up.”

The final 2016 Australia Stakes field and barrier draw is out on Wednesday, but Zahra believes the horse’s ability to run on speed and create luck throughout a race means the gate draw won’t be all that crucial.

“Now it’s a different ball game being weight-for-age and we’re confident enough he’ll graduate, whether it’s now or in the future,” he said.

“But it’s time to start putting the pressure on him and see where we end up.”

To back Durendal in the Australia Stakes at the guaranteed best odds sign-up now with and enjoy $150 in bonuses simply be depositing $50 and quoting the limited time only code BONUS150!

Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2018 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.

Spring Racing

All Aged to The Everest 2018 f...

2018 TJ Smith Stakes Grand Fin...

2018 TJ Smith Stakes Grand Final for The Everest Bound Redzel

Inaugural The Everest champion Redzel has been specifically set for an autumn...

Daysee Doom Heads 2018 Emancip...

Daysee Doom Heads 2018 Emancipation Stakes Field & Betting

Ron Quinton’s flying five-year-old Daysee Doom is tipped as the mare to beat...

Winx To Climb The Everest 2018...

Winx To Climb The Everest 2018?

Winx next race? It’s the question always on the horizon after she leaves her...

Written By Is The 2018 Ladbrok...

Written By Is The 2018 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Winner

The well-supported, clear Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 2018 favourite Written...

Horse Racing Today

Victorian filly So Far Sokool ...

Gai’s 2 head the list of...

Gai’s 2 head the list of nominations for the 2018 Japan Racing Association Plate

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Ecuador and Arbeitsam head up the...

Single Gaze looking to the fut...

Single Gaze looking to the future as a brood mare, out of 2018 Sydney Cup

Group 1 winning mare Single Gaze will begin preparations for the upcoming...

Savvy Coup looking for another...

Savvy Coup looking for another Kiwi win in 2018 Australian Oaks

Savvy Coup will be trying to keep the Kiwi fillies strong winning record...

Oliver back aboard Almandin in...

Oliver back aboard Almandin in 2018 Sydney Cup

Damien Oliver has found himself back on Melbourne Cup winner Almandin who is...

Race Results

Viewed Victorious in Caulfield Cup

Race 1 Result – $101 500 AGL Renewable Energy Stakes – She’s Got Gears Wins

Race 2 – $101,500 Schiavello Plate – Avienus Wins

Race 3 – $101 500 Lavazza A Modo Mio – Linton Street Wins

Race 4 Results – $151,500 Listed Herald Sun Stakes – Strawberry Field Wins

Race Previews

2009 Caulfield Cup Barrier Draw Announced

Who Are the Top Contenders for Tomorrow’s Caulfield Cup?

Victoria Derby in sight for Onemorenomore

2009 Melbourne Cup Field

Eclipse Stakes Final Field & Preview

Fields & Form

Can Kelinni Win Sydney Cup 2013 for the Punters?

Moroney Gets into Queensland Derby 2013 Rhythm

Buffering Draws 7 – 2013 BTC Cup Final Field and Barrier Draw

SA Fillies Classic 2013 Field Released

13 two-year-olds in 2013 Champagne Classic Field