Mathew Ellerton and training partner Simon Zahra will saddle up four runners in the Oakleigh Plate.
Training partners Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are no strangers to saddling multiple runners in a race.
But they enter rare air in the Group One Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday with four representatives after entering five for the sprint.
In Thursday’s market order they have Booker ($8.50), Flamberge ($17), Rock ‘N’ Gold ($51) and Sword Of Light ($61).
Sydneysider Russian Revolution ($4.80) heads the market ahead of last year’s Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign at $6.
“I think we’ve got a couple of real live chances and a couple of handy chances in what is an open race,” Zahra said.
“I think it would be the first time we’ve saddled four in a race.
“I might have done in my time at Hawkes’ and Mathew may have done it with Gerald Ryan but to have four runners, especially being a Group One, is exciting.
“It would be even better to win it.”
Ellerton won the Oakleigh Plate with three-year-old filly Miss Kournikova in 2001 while Zahra had joined his cousin by 2003 when River Dove was successful.
Like Miss Kournikova, Booker is a three-year-old filly.
“The barrier is probably a tale of woe but there should be enough speed and hopefully she can get a nice run from there,” Zahra said.
“If she’s three wide, with cover, sobeit.”
Flamberge won the 2016 Oakleigh Plate for Peter Moody and after a stint with Darren Weir is back in the care of Ellerton and Zahra.
He’s had two runs back and was just touched out by Super Cash on February 10.
“He probably looked better on the Monday after that run and we were over the moon the way he bounced through,” Zahra said.
He spent a week at (owner) David’s (Moodie) farm, has come back the best he’s been, the best he’s felt and the best he’s looked.
“He’ll run a good race with plenty of weight, which he’s done in the past.”
Sword Of Light hasn’t raced since the spring, but Zahra says her work and jump-outs have been strong while Rock ‘N’ Gold has been targeted at the race since winning at Flemington last month.
“He had a jump-out on Monday and is following the same path as he did when he won up the straight,” Zahra said.
“There’s going to be plenty of speed and hopefully he’ll run on.”