Namesake gets the head down in Oxlade Stakes win

Mark Zahra got everything out of Namesake as the pair claimed the Listed Oxlade Stakes. Photo: Darren Winningham

Jockey Mark Zahra and training duo Ciaron Maher & David Eustace have combined in the opening race at Eagle Farm on Saturday, as Namesake ($7.50) proved too good against the two-year-olds in the Oxlade Stakes.

It was an elite steer by Mark Zahra sitting in behind what looked like a genuine tempo throughout the 1300m journey, peeling off the back of the well supported favorite infancy ($4.20) who was clearly fading towards the backend of the race.

This son of Maurice has been rewarded for his consistency throughout the campaign with his second win, and it should be onwards and upwards for Namesake heading into his three-year-old season.

There were some outstanding performances by the beaten brigade as well, with Heman ($10) powering to the line under James McDonald to barely miss out on victory, while the fourth placegetter, Zoukerette ($15) was enormous clinging on after sitting three-wide no cover the entire trip.

The Oxlade Stakes in previous year’s has proven to be a strong form-line for punters to follow, as we’ve seen with the likes of Uncommon James (2021) be victorious and see Group 1 success in the future.

2023 Listed Oxlade Stakes Replay – Namesake

Co-trainer Ciaron Maher made the trip up to Queensland to witness the victory and suggested post-race we may not have seen the best of his colt just yet as they prepare Namesake for the spring.

“The team have done a great job with him,” said Maher.

“He hasn’t had the last couple of race go his way. He drew well today and was always going to get a nice run.

“Beautiful ride by Mark Zahra and the team in Sydney have done a great job with him.

“He’s really maturing through the prep and I think he’ll have a little break now. Most likely get ready for the spring.”

Jockey Mark Zahra was brief in his pot-race assessment of Namesake but was impressed with the win as well.

“He’s got a good turn-of-foot and the last two runs haven’t been able to use that,” said Zahra.

“Drew well, soft run and the gap came at the right time, kicked, and held on at the end.”

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