In-form sprinter Durendal gets the chance to emulate his elder sibling Flamberge in the Group Three Standish Handicap at Flemington.
Flamberge won the Standish on New Year’s Day in 2014 as a four-year-old and the Peter Moody-trained sprinter has since progressed to become a Group One winner of The Goodwood in Adelaide earlier this year.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Durendal, who is by Medaglia D’Oro, and Flamberge by Exceed And Excel, are out of Razor Blade whose progeny also includes stakes winners Sunburnt Land and Curtana.
“It’s an amazing family,” Zahra said.
“She keeps producing every year. She’s a freak.”
Durendal pressed his Standish Handicap claims with a one-length win down the Flemington straight 1200m earlier this month in an open handicap, dropping back from a win over 1400m at Ballarat in November.
“He’s bouncing around the stable, he’s dying for another run. So he’s going in there in pretty good order,” Zahra said.
Durendal will be chasing a first stakes win in Friday’s Standish having been placed in a Listed race in Brisbane at the end of his previous campaign in May.
Zahra said Durendal was a lazy trackworker who saved his best for raceday. He has won six of his 15 starts including three from five this campaign.
“He’s really come of age the last couple of months but he’s always shown plenty of ability on the racetrack,” Zahra said.
The co-trainer believes Durendal’s ability to sit close to the speed and show a turn of foot are his assets.
“He’s got that killer punch that the good horses need to put races away,” he said.
The Standish (1200m) has 15 nominations and is one of two stakes races on Friday’s program, the other being the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m).
Group winner Churchill Dancer and It Is Written head the weights for the Standish on 59kg with Durendal on 55.5kg.
Leon and Troy Corstens have three nominations headed by Tried And Tired (57kg) who ran well for third in the Doveton Stakes (1000m) first-up and Zahra said he had to be respected.
“They’ve obviously kept him fresh for this and he’s a horse with plenty of ability,” Zahra said.
“The beauty for us is that Durendal’s going to be pretty well weighted again, so that’s going to be our bonus.
“We know he’s in good form, he looks terrific and doesn’t look like he’s trained off.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au