The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Age Of Chivalry has been a model of consistency but was back in the winner’s circle for the first time since August 2019 when digging deep to land the Gr.3 Chatham Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
The six-year-old son of He’s Remarkable has been a stable favourite for the training partnership, which will go their separate ways at the end of the month.
Multiple Group One-placed Age of Chivalry pulled out too many stops for Crosshaven and Justacanta, with the first three all New Zealand Bloodstock graduates.
“He’s been going well but when you place in those Group Ones you get out-weighted and hard to place,” Zahra said.
“We’ve been really patient this prep. It’s been a long time between drinks but he’s been a hard horse to place. He’s had issues but we had him on track with the month between runs and that has been the key.
“This was part of the program to run in this and back up in the Cranbourne Cup (A$500,000 Listed, 1600m). He’s tightened up nicely and we’re keen to get to the Cranbourne Cup next Saturday.
“He’s had feet issues and really feels the firm track. His best form is always in the spring where there is a bit of give.
“He’s done us proud today.”
The win was the last of the Melbourne Cup carnival for the training duo, who are cousins.
“We had 21 years and it’s been a good learning curve for both of us,” Zahra said.
“I’m sure that we’ll both be successful in our own right. We’ll still be next door neighbours and we’ll have a chat every now and again if he’ll let me.”
Winning jockey Damian Lane has long been associated with the Ellerton-Zahra stable, having been apprenticed to the duo when relocating from Western Australia in 2011.
Lane has ridden Age Of Chivalry in all bar three of his 23 career starts and all five of his victories.
“I’ve been with him for a very long time. I remember the big raw baby that came into the stable and the boys have done such a great job with him. He’s taken a long time to come to hand and he had some soundness issues so they’ve done a really good job,” Lane said.
“He’s not as sharp early as he used to be. I had to use him a touch to get him into that handy spot but when he can ride that hot speed, it is when things do go well for him and he can then tough it out off that tempo.”
Age of Chivalry was initially sold as a yearling through his breeder Mapperley Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Festival Sales draft.
He returned as a Ready To Run two-year-old later that year for Curraghmore and was knocked down to Henry Plumptre for $50,000.
Ellerton and Zahra were underbidders on Age of Chivalry, but Zahra said everything worked out well after he approached Plumptre after the sale.
“I went over and saw Henry and had a chat with him and he put our name in the hat and we ended up getting him to train, so it was a win-win.
“We didn’t have to syndicate him and we got some really good clients out of it. They are really good owners and have been really patient.”
Age Of Chivalry has earned A$723,705 in prizemoney to date and is another good advertisement for the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale, which will take place as a virtual sale on November 17 and 18 at Te Rapa. – NZ Racing Desk