Old timer ready to step up at The Valley

Craig Brennan
Veteran sprinter Thermal Current will be out to win his first race for the Ellerton/Zahra stable

Co-trainer Simon Zahra is amazed at the longevity of sprinter Thermal Current who will attempt to add to his record at The Valley.

Now a nine-year-old, Thermal Current lines up for his 66th start on Saturday in the Murray Nangatta Handicap (1000m).

Zahra, and training partner Mathew Ellerton, have had Thermal Current for his past seven starts after the gelding began his career with Peter Moody before moving to Darren Weir.

The winner of eight races, Thermal Current has not yet won for Ellerton and Zahra, but Zahra says the gelding keeps turning up, running his usual honest races.

"He looks fit now and we can't fault him," Zahra said.

"His work is good and his legs look fantastic for a nine-year-old.

"He's so honest so we'll keep sending him around until he puts his hand up to say I'm done."

Thermal Current was last successful at Flemington during the 2018 Melbourne Cup carnival over the straight 1000m course and Zahra said they had plans for a return to Flemington on New Year's Day for a shot at the Standish Handicap (1200m).

He said following Saturday's race at The Valley, Thermal Current was likely to spend 10 days in the paddock before returning to the stable at Flemington to prepare for that race.

"When the top liners drop off, that's when horses like him get their chance," Zahra said.

"However he doesn't do himself a lot of favours giving everything head starts coming from the back."

Thermal Current will give Japanese apprentice Akatsuki Tomita, who is also under the care of Ellerton and Zahra, his first Saturday metropolitan ride.

Tomita has been applying his trade predominantly on the country circuit since his arrival in August, although he has graduated to city meetings in recent weeks.

"We'll start throwing him in the deep-end a bit now," Zahra said.

"He's ridden plenty of winners around the bush and has done OK.

"Summer time is probably a good time to throw him on some of these types of horses to get experience in town and to try and get a few winners."

Tomita claims 1.5kg and will reduce Thermal Current's weight to 55.5kg on Saturday.