Zoutori made it back-to-back wins in the Bobbie Lewis Quality when he prevailed narrowly in an exciting finish with only a half-length separating the top five across the line.
Jockey Mark Zahra had to call on all of his renowned skill to get Zoutori home by a half-neck in the 1200 metre, Group Two event at Flemington.
Zoutori’s co-trainer Mathew Ellerton’s first remark after the win was that it wasn’t as easy as last year but it was fantastic that he got the job done.
“He’s a good straight horse and he’s particularly good fresh which is a big advantage,” Ellerton said.
“I was saying to Mark (Zahra) before the race that the horse is going well but not flying. His run in the autumn was huge first up and he’s run super again today.”
Rather than keep Zoutori to sprint races, Ellerton said they would step him out again in distance.
As a three-year-old he won over 1600 metres at Caulfield but he spent all of last season running over sprint trips.
Ellerton said they would look at starting him in the feature mile races such as the Cantala Stakes at Flemington.
“He’s at that stage of his life where we can experiment a little bit,” Ellerton said.
Zahra said he was lucky to get the ride as a few jockeys usually used by the Ellerton and Simon Zahra team were suspended.
“It just worked out nicely. It was perfect for the straight, I had the slipstream all the way. I got the room late and the horse did the rest,” Zahra said.
Zoutori ($4.60 equal fav) defeated Banquo ($6) by a half-neck with Tofane ($5) a nose away third.
The others in the blanket finish were fourth placegetter The Inevitable and fifth placed Dollar For Dollar.