Trainers joyful start to the year

Michael Manley
·2-min read

Flemington co-trainers Simon Zahra and Mat Ellerton continued their remarkable start to 2021 with a winning double on their home track.

Their double came from two three-year-old fillies, Ocean Joy and Zesty Belle, who are both raced by First Light Racing.

The stable also was successful at Werribee with Galactus. They have now trained eight winners for the year including five city winners.

It was a stress free double at Flemington with Island Joy ($18) winning the Benchmark 70 for fillies and mares over 1600 metres by 4 1/4 lengths and then Zesty Belle ($5) winning at the same level over 1100m by 1 3/4 lengths.

Zahra though lamented after Ocean Joy's victory it was a start too late as he had her going for a $20,000 collect in a multi when she finished an unlucky eighth at Caulfield last Saturday.

Zahra assessed Damian Thornton's rail hugging ride as excellent.

"She travelled nicely and gee she had a good turn-of-foot and the mile suits her," Zahra said.

Zahra said Zesty Belle's track-work on Tuesday was outstanding and he thought she'd be hard to beat.

Zesty Belle made it two starts this campaign for two wins and Zahra said she was now the furnished product.

"She's always shown us good ability. We'll just plot a nice path and try and find a nice couple of races for her," he said.

Zesty Belle was ridden by Damian Lane and it was his first winner at his first day back riding after he had a short break back home in Perth.

Another stable having a good run is the John Moloney stable who had success with Milton Park in the three-year-old Benchmark 70 over 1400 metres.

Moloney also has had a stellar week saddling up three runners for three winners. His other winners were Imperial Lad at Sandown Lakeside on Wednesday and then The Regiment at Geelong on Thursday.

Moloney said Milton Park still had a lot to learn and he would aim at the Australian Guineas.

"He likes the track and he wants 1600 metres. We'll take him to the C.S Hayes Stakes and take it from there," Moloney said.