Flamberge Fresh for 2016 The Goodwood

May 16th, 2016

Co-trainer Simon Zahra is confident a brief freshen-up will be the difference when reigning champion Flamberge lines up for a defence of his crown in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville Racecourse on Saturday.

Flamberge has received a freshen-up in the lead-up to Saturday's Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville. Photo: Jenny Barnes

Flamberge has received a freshen-up in the lead-up to Saturday’s Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville. Photo: Jenny Barnes

A three-time Group 1 winner, Flamberge was transferred to the care of Zahra and co-trainer Matthew Ellerton following the retirement of Peter Moody in March, and the horse failed to beat a single runner home off a short back-up into the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships.

Zahra told The Advertiser the Exceed And Excel gelding has settled into life at Flemington well and appears primed for a typically big performance in the 2016 Goodwood Handicap on Saturday.

“You need to space his runs. We backed him up going into Sydney and that was always against him,” Zahra said.

“That (the short break between runs) isn’t his go.

“He also hadn’t had a gallop that way of going, either.

“There was a lot of money on offer but it was a bit of a throw at the stumps, really.

“He’s settled into our routine nicely. He’s a triple Group 1 winner, so obviously they work good and look good when they’re doing it.

“He had a jumpout last Friday at Flemington and went nicely. He had a nice blow and now we’re just keeping him fresh into Saturday.

“He’s spent a bit of time up on the farm and now he’s had a half-dozen gallops just to bring him into race fitness.

“It’s definitely not going to be an easy feat but we can’t have him any better.”

Returning to the paddock following his 2015 Goodwood triumph, Flamberge resumed in spring for second behind Chautauqua in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) before running a credible sixth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and winning the Listed Durbridge Stakes (1200m) most notably.

Given little chance of success in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) first-up this time, Flamberge completed a perfectly-timed performance to post a second win at the highest level; repeating the dose in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) in his only other start prior to the TJ Smith Stakes.

The 2016 The Goodwood final field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.

Ladbrokes.com.au currently rates Flamberge a $15 chance in early 2016 The Goodwood betting markets.