Simon Zahra is banking on the recuperative powers of Flemington from a summer soaking to help two of the stable’s runners in a straight race for mares.
Essence Of Terror and Smart Coupe line up for Zahra and co-trainer Mathew Ellerton in Saturday’s Wingate Avenue Community Centre Trophy (1100m).
Saturday’s meeting is the first at Flemington since the completion of last month’s Melbourne Cup carnival.
Flemington was hit with heavy rain on Melbourne Cup day and its powers as a well-draining track were displayed as it gradually improved during the four-day meeting.
Heavy rain was falling in Melbourne on Thursday but Zahra did not see it as problematic.
“Mathew and I have had a look at the track and it’s in amazing condition for such a quick turnaround from spring to now,” Zahra said.
“It looks fantastic.
“I don’t think the amount of rain they’re tipping will be a problem as Flemington is usually pretty good.”
Smart Coupe has performed moderately at her two most recent starts on ground rated soft.
They were at Moe on October 18 and her most recently at Ballarat on November 24 when she finished ninth behind Nariko.
In between she registered a Kyneton victory on a good track.
“We’ve kept her fresh and she’s got to get back on a dry track,” Zahra said.
“Her runs at Moe and Ballarat on wet tracks she performed below par but she went to Kyneton on a firm track and went really well.
“We’ve given her that extra week and she’s been stakes-placed up the straight.”
Zahra said Essence Of Terror would appreciate the 3kg claim of Lachlan King and would strip fitter for her last start at Moonee Valley behind Fill The Flute.
Essence Of Terror meets Fill The Flute on 5.5kg better weight terms for being beaten less than a length.
“The six weeks in between runs and the 60 kilos probably got her the other day and now that she’s had that run, and with the claim, it’s really going to help,” Zahra said.
“She gives everything in her races and now that we keep her fresh and keep her to sprint races she’s a different horse.”