Durendal is racing in career best form for the piping hot Matthew Ellerton and Simon Zahra combination and the stable have revealed that the talented sprinter could have his next race start in the 2016 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on January 23.
Durendal started his campaign with a flat performance behind Sabatini in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield on September 26 and he took out the Matthew Brown Racing Handicap (1200m) at Pakenham on October 15 before he finished fifth in the Lavazza Short Black Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
The Medaglia D’Oro gelding returned to winning form in the Isuzu Handicap (1400m) at Ballarat on November 21 and he won again in the Western Health Foundation Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on December 12 before he recorded the biggest win of his racing career to date in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
Ellerton told Racing Ahead this morning that the stable has been thrilled with the recent form of Durendal and he believes that the four-year-old has done enough to indicate that he is worthy of a start in a race like the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m).
“He ran Cup day and we walked away disappointed, but he’s certainly made up for that,” Ellerton said.
“He has got better throughout the prep and he is a horse that didn’t give you much of a feel early on in life and the more racing he has done the better he has got.
“He has continued to improve with age.
“We will just reassess where we go with him because he has had a bit of racing, but he is not suffering from it.
“We’ll just see how he goes when he comes back – he may well take his place in the Australia Stakes.
“That’s a whole new ball game for him at weight-for-age.”
Durendal has now recorded seven wins from his 16 race starts and he has accumulated over $400,000 in prizemoney for the Contract Racing Team of David Moodie.
The Ellerton and Zahra combination are chasing their first win in the Australia Stakes since Hard Stride finished seventh behind Mourinho in the race earlier this year.