While up-and-coming sprinter Durendal looms as one of the leading contenders for the Group Three Standish Handicap on New Year’s Day, his younger sibling will chase his first city win at Sandown.
Four-year-old Durendal, winner of his past two starts at Ballarat and Flemington, is headed to Friday’s Standish (1200m) at Flemington, while on Wednesday three-year-old Tempered will try to build on a last-start maiden win at Echuca.
Both Durendal and Tempered are trained by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra and are out of Razor Blade who has also produced Group One winner Flamberge and stakes winners Sunburnt Land and Curtana.
A gelding by Hard Spun, Tempered was well-beaten in his first three starts but has started to put it together this campaign with placings at Echuca and Sandown before he broke through for a win at his most recent start.
He steps up to 1600m for the first time in the Polytrack Handicap after winning over 1400m at Echuca.
“He probably should have won at Sandown two starts ago. He didn’t get a lot of room in the straight,” Zahra said.
While Durendal is a lazy trackworker who saves his best for race day, Zahra said Tempered was different from his half-brother in that he works well on the training track.
“His first two runs in his life were woeful and we were scratching our heads a bit,’ Zahra said.
“We put him out and gave him a bit more time and each run this time in he’s got better and better.”
Zahra liked how Tempered was able to draw away at Echuca to win by more than a length despite having to work early from the outside gate.
“He was entitled to get beaten the other day, he did a lot of work early and he won like a nice horse,” he said.
“Every time we’ve raised the bar this time he’s just got better and better, so hopefully on Wednesday he can do it again.”
Tempered will be ridden by Damian Lane who also has the ride on Durendal in the $150,000 Standish Handicap.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au