The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Matthew Ellerton & Simon Zahra trained Booker was the class of the field during Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, storming past the likes of Encryption and odds on favourite Nature Strip to win by three-quarters of a length.
Booker, a $21.00 chance prior to the race, found the ideal spot along the rails to shift into gear. Third placegetter Eduardo also loomed, but after finishing fourth in the same race a year ago, it helped having Dean Yendell’s 52kg’s on board.
“My weight helps me a lot to pick up these better rides, just brilliant to get a ride from Matty (Ellerton) and have this association with Matthew and Simon and pick up the ride on this big mare” Yendell said after the win.
“We began well and just set up behind Damian Lane’s horse, it seemed to be travelling okay and it took me into the race, I thought Linda (Meech) would take me into the race but she wasn’t travelling as good as I thought she would on Bons Away, so I just let this big girl come to the inside of the leaders, and when I asked for effort, gee she let down good (sic).”
Booker, who’s only win came at Group 3 level last year, became the third Ellerton trained runner to win the Oakleigh Plate following Miss Kournikova’s success in 2001 and River Dove’s win in 2003.
Ellerton now sets his sights on next month’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, as Booker hopes to become the 12th horse to do the Oakleigh Plate-Newmarket double.
“We had a chequered Spring with her, she had a minor throat problem in the Spring, we had plain sailing this prep and she came up trumps today” Ellerton said on Saturday.
“She’s a quality mare this, hopefully this is her time to shine, you’d probably forgive her Spring campaign, and she ran well on Derby day. We had a nice break, and she had a really faultless prep going in to today.”
Yendell said he’d put “both hands up” for the ride in the Newmarket, while punters can get on board at $16.00 with Ladbrokes.
Third placegetter Eduardo also shows plenty of promise at $11.00.
Full Newmarket Handicap Odds:
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